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Countryside site could be declared local nature reserve

Published: 8 March 2019

Our countryside site, Aston on Trent Brickyard Plantation, is set to be declared a local nature reserve.

white-letter hairstreak butterfly

This new status is a tribute to the significant increase in the site’s wildlife value in recent years. Volunteers have worked alongside our staff to improve the habitats including coppicing in the woodland and the creation of wildflower meadows and ponds. There are now 25 species of butterflies at Aston Brickyard including the UK priority species the white-letter hairstreak.

The local nature reserve recommendation has been made by Natural England following our application, and the formal declaration will be made this summer. 

The plantation is at the side of Derby Road on the north edge of Aston on Trent. It is an area of mixed woodland planting and a wildflower meadow on the site of a former clay pit and brickworks.

It was a major gypsum provider in the 18th century, a brickworks until the mid-1960s, and then a landfill site until the late 1970s after which we took it on to manage for the benefit of the community.

The Friends of Aston Brickyard Plantation (FAB) was formed in 2012 to put local effort and expertise into improving the conservation value of the site. Since then it has been managed for wildlife and for the public to enjoy by FAB with support from ourselves.

Our Cabinet Support Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor Trevor Ainsworth, said:

“It is very welcome news that our site will be declared a local nature reserve and we’re grateful to Natural England for their support.

“The designation is a tribute to the work of the Friends of Aston Brickyard and their commitment to continually enhancing the site which has become an important community resource and a home for a wide range of wildlife.”

Secretary of the Friends of Aston Brickyard, John Holloway said:

“The designation as a Local Nature Reserve acknowledges all the work we do to protect and improve this popular local site. It’s an important green space and we’re really proud of all that we’ve achieved. We’ll continue to work with the county council to encourage the local community to enjoy all the site has to offer.”

FAB holds monthly working days for volunteers. Anyone interested in finding out more can email

Read more about our countryside sites and activities in Derbyshire.