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Our ongoing and completed projects

All Saints Infants’ School. Proposed, designed and created a wildlife and sustainable living garden at All Saints Infants’ School, Matlock. This transformed a bare space into an area full of features that benefit wildlife and offer opportunities for children’s learning. These include butterfly gardens, wild meadow area, insect habitats, natural seating area, fruit trees, raised vegetable beds and composting bins. We donated nectar-rich plants and fruit trees, and carried out much of the work, together with staff, parents and pupils. In 2010, the garden won 2nd prize in the annual Matlock in Bloom Awards.

All Saints Juniors’ School. Funded and created a large bee and butterfly garden, and wildflower meadow area. Organised educational activities at the school’s annual Eco Days. Regular help with garden maintenance, including working with groups of pupils in the vegetable garden. The school regularly wins awards, including Best School Grounds in Matlock in Bloom awards. Highlighted school grounds in articles in Kitchen Garden and Home Farmer magazines.

Barn Owl Project. Provided nesting and roosting sites at Hackney Leys. Barns owls were once frequently seen locally, but UK numbers have decreased by at least 70% in recent years, making sightings rare. In 2011 our first nest box was occupied by roosting tawny owls. The first sighting of a barn owl on the eco-smallholding was recorded in early 2013.

Bee Alive! campaign. Planted wildflowers and nectar-rich plants in various locations across the region.

Castle View Primary School. Provided and planted an orchard of eight fruit trees. With Transition Matlock, we created sustainable living features including constructing wooden planters for vegetables and nectar-rich plants, and provided 150 native broad-leaved trees - one for each pupil. Matlock Garden Centre kindly donated a greenhouse to the project. Activities are ongoing - future plans include vegetable beds and wildflower areas.

Cavendish Playing Fields - new woodland. With Transition Matlock, we transplanted more than 1,000 ash saplings from the grounds at All Saints Infants’ School to Cavendish Playing Fields, Matlock. When fully grown, these will provide a windbreak for the exposed site, as well as a valuable wildlife habitat. Moving the saplings created space for raised vegetable beds for each year group at the school.

Darley Dale Primary School. Provided advice and support in creating wildlife habitats and sustainable living features in the school grounds, to strengthen the pupils' access to green space and opportunities for outdoor learning. In 2015, we supported the successful application for a grant from The Tree Council, enabling the school to purchase 140 native trees from The Woodland Trust. We helped plant these trees with parents, carers and pupils to create a mini-woodland.

Get Matlock Growing - Allotments for All campaign. Since 2010 - with Transition Matlock, Well Field Allotment Society, Matlock Mercury, councillors and others - we have been addressing the pressing need for more food-growing space in Matlock; promoting own-grown, seasonal food; and supporting local produce, producers and retailers. We want as many people as possible to have the chance to grow their own fruit and veg, and to enjoy all the benefits that brings.

              More than 100 people, many representing whole families, are on allotment waiting lists in Matlock parish alone. Some have been waiting over 10 years; others have been discouraged from even applying because of the swollen waiting lists.

              To encourage Matlock Town Council to act, articles appeared in the Matlock Mercury and we made a presentation to the council. In November 2010, six people wrote to the council, asking for allotment space under the Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908. Under this legislation, according to the National Society of Leisure & Allotment Gardeners: “Where six or more Parliamentary electors make written representations to the appropriate Municipal authority that allotments are wanted in that area, the said Council is then obliged to become pro-active in seeking land for allotments. It is not enough for a Municipal authority merely to ‘consider’ provision. There must be action on the part of the authority which evidences active seeking of land for provision and letting.” If the town council cannot provide a site, responsibility passes to the district then county council. In late 2010, Matlock Town Council said it supports increased allotment provision but it needs to identify sites and funding. There has been little progress since.

              Further to discussions since 2011, Derbyshire County Council has agreed to release land near County Hall, Matlock for use as allotments. We are part of a management sub-committee working to make this wildlife-friendly growing area a reality. We have secured grant funding, with more needed. Well Field Allotment Society will manage the new site.

Hackney Leys. Restoration of five acres of grassland in the Derwent Valley and creation of an eco-smallholding, maintained through organic, traditional methods. Habitats have been created and maintained including hay and wildflower meadows, hedgerows, buffer strips on field margins, native woodland, pond and dry stone walls. Sustainable living features include vegetable gardens, hens and the creation of an orchard of more than 40 fruit trees, including heritage and local varieties. We have recorded sightings of badgers, foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs, bats, frogs, toads and dragonflies. Tawny owls are resident, and more than 50 bird species have been sighted. The meadows are home to at least 20 different species of wildflower, in turn attracting countless invertebrate species. The Conservation Volunteers have helped to restore dry stone walls.

Lea Primary School. Ongoing work with staff and pupils to create habitats and sustainable living features including funding and creating a wildflower meadow and mini orchard, and support in establishing a poly-tunnel for growing veg.

Matlock Bath Holy Trinity Primary School. Funded and planted a mini orchard of three fruit trees. Created a bee and butterfly garden, followed by educational activities for pupils - including making documentaries about wildlife habitats at the school.

Pollinating the Peak / Chesterfield Pollination Conference. From September 2014, we were a partner involved in planning and organising a Chesterfield Pollination Conference (April 2015) and ensuing three-year Pollinating the Peak campaign, together with Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Chatsworth, Chesterfield Borough Council, Moors for the Future Partnership, water saving experts HSG UK, and Plain Green. We secured £500 from Derbyshire County Council’s Greenwatch Action Grants towards the cost of an education pack to be distributed to schoolchildren and students at the pollination conference.

Riber woodland. With Transition Matlock, planted new woodland of native broadleaved trees on land owned by Willersley Castle Hotel. We donated more than 50 trees.

Save the North Pole. Our annual Christmas campaign highlights the dangers of climate change as the polar ice cap melts and the home of Father Christmas steadily disappears. We think it’s time to give something back to Saint Nick by helping to stop the melt. Since his initial outing in 2008, on a horse and carriage provided by Darley Dale’s Red House Stables Working Carriage Museum, Father Christmas - decked out in his traditional green robes - has joined forces with the Matlock Mercury to present awards to local businesses, schools, organisations and individuals who are taking action against climate change and helping to promote sustainable living. Recipients of the award include Garden Farm, Northwood Recycling Centre, Matlock All Saints Juniors’ School, The Renewable Shop, Peak Ales and Greenway Cafe. Money raised has supported climate change projects in Ghana via development charity Village Aid and funded a grove of trees in Scotland’s Caledonian Forest via conservation charity Trees for Life.

Stanton-in-Peak Primary School. Since 2015, we have been working with parents on a Grow 4 Nature project. This project will transform a currently unused allotment space on the school grounds into an environmentally beneficial green space, with wildlife habitats and sustainable living features  – creating a healthy outdoor space for pupils; providing an educational resource; addressing climate change and the need to protect biodiversity and habitats; and acting as a model to inspire and motivate others to create green and sustainable spaces. We secured grant funding from The Ernest Cook Trust to help deliver this project.

Transition Matlock. Ongoing active support for Transition Matlock since its launch in 2008. Working across the community to find positive, local and sustainable solutions to peak oil and climate change. Members of coordinating  Support Group. Event organisation, management and participation.

Wessington Primary School. Gave advice on enhancing wildlife features on the school grounds. Workshops with children, learning about invertebrates and tree identification. Planted native broadleaved trees with Reception class - one for each pupil to be ‘their’ tree during their time at the school.

Promoting a sustainable local economy and community. We have supported and promoted local organisations and businesses - helping to create a more resilient and sustainable local community and economy - including through our national and local media articles, and through events. This includes:

A-C: Arts Derbyshire; Ashover Brewery; Bakewell Farmers’ Market; Big Barn; Julian Brandram, fruit specialist; Buxton Opera House; Carsington Water; Caudwell’s Mill, Rowsley; Chatsworth; Chatsworth Farm Shop; Chestnut Centre Conservation & Wildlife Park; Moira Clinch, Matlock-based pottery artist; Cocoadance Chocolate Factory, Castleton; Crich Tramway Museum

D-G: Derbyshire Eco Centre, Middleton-by-Wirksworth; Derbyshire Winery; Eyam Hall & Craft Centre; Foxglove Farm, Rowsley; Andrew Frost, Wirksworth-based wood sculptor; Go Ape, Buxton; Garden Farm, High Leas; Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath; Greenhalgh Glass, Rowsley; Green Way Café, Matlock

H-L: Haddon Hall; Hardwick Hall; Hartington Creamery; Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath; Hayley Henderson, artist; Herb Garden, Pilsley; Honesty Cosmetics, Bakewell; Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield; Johnson-Ladygrove Ltd, Two Dales; Kitchen Garden Produce, Darley Dale; Lea Gardens; Little Morton Farm, North Wingfield; Littleover Apiaries; Lorna Cross Nurseries, Tansley

M-O: Magna, Sheffield; Marsh Green Farm, Ashover; Matlock Farm Park; Matlock Meadows Ice Cream Parlour; Matthew Walker (Christmas Puddings), Heanor; Medway Centre, Bakewell; Sally Mosley, local walking guide and writer; National Trust Lyme Park; Neil Thompson Nurseries, Tansley; Sarah Parkin, artist; Nick Parsons, home sustainability expert; Northwood Recycling Centre, Darley Dale; Jane Oldfield, Matlock-based costume maker; Old Cheese Shop, Hartington; Old House Museum, Bakewell; Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop; Original Farmers’ Market Shop, Bakewell; Old Poet’s Corner, Ashover; Over the Rainbow (Matlock-based photographer Alison Russell)

P-Z: Peak Ales, Chatsworth Estate; Peak District Honey; Peak District National Park Authority; Penny Pot Café, Edale; Red House Stables Working Carriage Museum, Darley Dale; Renewable Shop, Tansley; Roper’s Honey, Chesterfield; Scarthin Books, Cromford; Scott’s Garden; Taste Card; The Cheese Factor, Chesterfield; The Loaf, Matlock; Thornbridge Breweries; Two Dales Riding School & Trekking Centre; Visit Peak District; Wick and a Prayer Candles, Tissington

Promoting charities and good causes. Through our national and local media articles we support and promote a wide range of positive projects and initiatives. This has included: Action for Children; Arkwright Society; Bakewell & District Organic Gardeners (BADOG); Barnado’s; Bradwell Community Orchard; BTO; Bumblebee Conservation Trust; Butterfly Conservation; British Beekeepers’ Association; Butterfly Conservation; Cancer Research UK; Chesterfield & District Beekeepers’ Association; Darley Dale Horticultural Society; Derbyshire Eco Challenge; Derbyshire Wildlife Trust; Elton Gardening Club; Energy Saving Trust; Freshfields Donkey Village, Peak Forest; Freshwater Habitats Trust; Love Food Hate Waste; Macmillian; Moors for the Future Partnership; National Trust; National Mammal Atlas Project; Natural England; Oxfam; Peak Climate Change Green Festival, Cromford Mills; Peak District National Park Authority’s Peak Dark Skies project; RSPB; Save the Children; Secret Gardens of Winster; Small Woods Association; Thrive; Transition Matlock; Trees for Life; UK Ladybird Survey; Village Aid; Well Field Allotment Society; Woodland Trust.

Some words of thanks...

Support by organisations and individuals makes a massive difference to our work, whether it’s creating and restoring habitats, carrying out educational visits or taking action to tackle climate change. We would like to thank the following for their support: Derbyshire County Councillor Nigel Allwood; Derbyshire County Councillor Mike Longden; Derbyshire County Council; Derbyshire Dales District Council; Ernest Bailey Charity; John Wiley & Sons Publishers, Oxford; Johnson-Ladygrove Ltd, Two Dales; Lorna Cross Nurseries, Tansley; Matlock Mercury; Neil Thompson Nurseries, Tansley; Jane Oldfield; Peak Advertiser; Peak Ales, Chatsworth Estate; Red House Stables Working Carriage Museum, Darley Dale; Trees for Life; Twiggs, Matlock; Vital Earth, Longcliffe