Chaddesden Wood is special because it is one of two ancient woodlands in the city of Derby. "Ancient" means it has been continuously wooded for at least 400 years. It covers nine hectares, or 23 acres. Acquired by Derby City Council in November 1990, it was declared A Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in April 1991. Being declared a LNR will help to ensure its proper protection and management. It will also enhance its wildlife, recreational and educational value for existing and future generations.
It is believed that Chaddesden Wood has existed since the Middle Ages. Records show that in 1548 George Dethick inherited the Chaddesden estate from his father, John Dethick of Breadsall. The estate contained 100 acres of pasture and 40 acres of woodland. At this time, the woodland would have been managed for its timber. Trees, especially hazel, would be regularly coppiced, cut back to ground level, and then allowed to regrow. This would provide a continual supply of poles. People used these for bean supports, fencing and firewood. Some oaks would be cut down to supply timber for houses and furniture.
During the 18th Century a great demand for wooden ships led to the cutting down of many large oaks. Small timber poles continued to be produced by coppicing. Woodland at this time also formed part of large estates which were used for hunting. Chaddesden Wood would have provided cover for game such as deer, pheasants and partridges.
Until the early 1980s open fields surrounded Chaddesden Wood. Today only the northern side has a view into open countryside, as houses have been built around the rest of the wood. In 2012, the LNR was extended to include Lime Lane Wood, off Smalley Drive, which is linked to Chaddesden Wood by about 600 metres of hedgerow and features many mature oak trees. Lime Lane Wood extends the coverage to 11.61 hectares or nearly 30 acres.
THE MANAGEMENT PLAN
A LNR management plan for Chaddesden Wood has existed since 1991 and was written by a professional ecologist in conjunction with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The plan is updated every 10 years to ensure the woodland is managed using the latest information available. The most recent plan was finalised in January 2012 and informs all partners of the work to be carried out during the next 10 years.
The purpose of a LNR management plan is to combine protection of the natural heritage with opportunities for people to enjoy, learn about and experience nature close to their homes. The management plan has seven objectives which are:
1. to maintain the habitats present in favourable conservation status
2. to maintain the populations of key species
3. to monitor key species and habitat condition in order to adapt future management
4. to encourage use of the site as a research facility
5. to raise awareness of the nature conservation value and management of the site through educational use
6. to secure and maintain the boundaries in order to control public access
7. to minimise destructive human impacts
“We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Community Award for the first time. We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication of volunteers who help to maintain Chaddesden Wood Local Nature Reserve to such a high standard”.