top of page
Friends of Chaddesden Wood logo


Hedgelaying Project along Eastern Boundary of Wood - Postcode Local Trust Grant:

Chaddesden Wood Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a native oak woodland forming part of the vital green wedge into the residential suburb of Oakwood, Derby. Locally known as ‘Bluebell Wood’, the 10 hectare parcel of land has been continuously wooded for over 400 years, defining it as ‘ancient’ woodland. It is an important wildlife reserve both locally and regionally and its value as a recreational resource is demonstrated by the high number of year-round visitors. Designated by Natural England as a ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1991, it was the first in Derby City to be offered this protection.


Following on from the success of the hedgelaying that took place in late autumn 2018, Derby Parks Volunteers completed the work up towards the Cherrybrook Drive entrance to Chaddesden Wood, in January 2020.


The first phase of the project was in autumn 2018, thanks to a grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of the Postcode Lottery.


The project, identified by professional ecologists in the LNR Management Plan 2011-21, is a key objective in improving the biodiversity of the woodland.


Hedgelaying is a traditional country craft used to create attractive, secure and wildlife friendly boundaries. Not only does it improve the security and appearance of the boundary, it also creates the perfect environment for nesting birds, hedgehogs, bats and other wildlife. In addition, letting more light into the wood, benefits the ground flora such as native bluebells and wood anemones. Some of the branches that are cut back have been used to strengthen the base of the hedge; others were stacked on the woodland floor to create log-pile habitats for insects and amphibians.


Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, Derby City Council and the Friends of Chaddesden Wood were successful in securing a £10,000 grant from SITA in 2012. The project known as ACE (Active Citizenship & Engagement) was delivered through engagement with a number of youth organisations. Groundwork led a Pupil Referral Unit team in installing the first 5 posts on the new Nature Trail and the 132nd Derby Scouts group from Chaddesden planted up some aquatic plants in and around the lined pond. Groundwork went into administration in September 2012 and subsequently the Friends of Chaddesden Wood took over the project management to its completion.

By the end of January 2013 the project had completed planting of new native pond plants, the installation of four new benches, University of Derby students had designed interpretation panels that were to be sited at each main entrance, preliminary design of a viewpoint panel, routes for three walks leading to & from the LNR, planting of native ground flora, tree seed gathering and the construction and installation of bird, bat and owl boxes.

By August 2013, the major work to complete the designs, manufacturing and installation of the interpretation panels had been completed and initial public feedback was very positive.

Additionally waymarkers for the four local walks around the Oakwood area had also been completed. The circular walks were named Acorn, Bluebell, Lime and Kings. They are of varying lengths and can be joined at any point. Look out for the green plaques and stickers attached to lampposts and wooden posts. Further information on the walks can be found in these leaflets:


The Derby City Pond Warden Association deepened the main pond and two adjacent satellite scrapes, lined them with a product called bentonite to improve water retention, and then put a dead hedge around the main pond (using materials displaced from our hedge laying work) to lessen disturbance. 

Some of the work was contracted out to TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) and was completed in October 2012.

White Letter Hairstreak Butterfly:

Chaddesden Wood is already home to a small population of the uncommon Purple Hairstreak butterfly. This handsome butterfly is widely distributed throughout southern areas wherever there are oak trees; even a solitary tree may support a colony. Its range has now extended to the Midlands and it is frequently overlooked as adults remain largely in the canopy where the main adult food source is honeydew. They fly more commonly in the evening of a warm summers day and are only driven down to seek fluid and nectar during prolonged drought or during heavy rainfall.

The White Letter Hairstreak butterfly is from the same family, but frequents the tops of elm trees in the same manner. The species declined during the 1970's when its foodplants were reduced by Dutch Elm disease, but it seems now to be recovering in some areas. The White Letter Hairstreak is a small butterfly with an erratic, spiraling flight typical of the hairstreaks. It is distinguished by a strongly defined white "W" mark across the undersides. The dark uppersides are seen only in flight as the butterflies always settle with their wings closed. Adults are difficult to see because they spend  so much time in the tree canopy, although they occasionally come to ground level to nectar on flowers near elm trees or scrub saplings.

The Friends of Chaddesden Wood are working in co-operation with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation to help create a local habitat to attract the White Letter Hairstreak butterfly. This comprised planting a small number of both standard and whip Dutch Elm resistant elm trees, referred to as Ulmus Sapparo Autumn Gold Elm. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust provided the trees which were planted in December 2012.


The Oakwood Neighbourhood Board has provided funding for many improvements over the years, including:

Purchase of timber to refurbish the notice boards and supporting posts located at the three main entrances.

Purchase of protected timber for a large triangular bench located just inside the Springwood Drive entrance.

Purchase of a "Chaddesden Wood LNR" sign located at the Diamond Drive entrance.

Purchase and install an LNR sign for Lime Lane Wood

Purchase a bat detector that can be used to survey the bat population accessing the wood

Build and install  a bird feeding station which will act as an education resource for local schools as well as a leisure facility for local residents

Funding of a new Nature Trail. A copy of the Nature Trail leaflet can be downloaded below:

bottom of page