This is Derby City Council's Wildlife Sanctuary on Pride Park. It lies adjacent to the stadium and was formerly a gas works tip. Covering an area of ten hectares, it supports a vast range of wildlife, including birds, mammals and native plants.
The Sanctuary covers an area of ten hectares - about an eighth of the total area of Pride Park - and lies right next to Pride Park Stadium and the River Derwent.
The site was formerly a gas works tip and was contaminated with tars, phenols, heavy metals, ammonia and boron. Many of those contaminants are now buried deep under The Sanctuary's central mound.
The appearance of The Sanctuary comes as a surprise to many visitors. It is intentionally very bare and almost devoid of trees and tall vegetation. But rough grassland is the perfect place for skylark and meadow pipit to breed, even though some might see it as 'waste ground'.
The site can never attract the Little Ringed Plover or the Common Tern unless there is a create large, bare gravel area near water and the growth of plants there is restricted. Only then will they make their nests on the ground. While park and grassland may be nicer for visitors to look at, they are not necessarily the ideal habitats for some of the rarer species of the city's wildlife.
The Sanctuary now boasts an artificial Sand Martin nest bank, a lake with bare islands to encourage Common Tern to nest, reed bed areas around the lake and pools, bare gravel zones for Little Ringed Plovers, bird, bat and insect boxes and dragonfly and amphibian pools.
For the visiting human species the viewing platforms, accessed from the Park and Ride car park, give a great view of the Sand Martin terrace and other areas of the reserve.
And The Sanctuary has certainly been a hit with visiting wildlife - among the visitors sited there so for are: Skylarks, Lapwings, Sand Martins, Grey Partridges, Common Terns, Little Ringed Plovers, Linnets and Meadow Pipits, foxes, rabbits and scores of species of plants including poppies, vetches, cranesbills, trefoils and teasels.
last updated: 11/03/2008 at 17:59