Hoe Grange Nature Reserve

Abandoned quarries often make excellent nature reserves. At the former Longcliffe Hoe Grange Quarry, a combination of thin calcareous soils, warm south facing bare rock and variations in topography combine to make it one of the best places to see butterflies in Derbyshire.

In the UK there are at most 60 species of butterflies seen including migrants 30 of whjch can be found In Derbyshire.26 of these can be spotted at Hoe Grange. The site has been recorded by Ken Orpe of East Midlands Butterfly Conservation for many years and a species list is reproduced below.
 
1. Small Skipper
2. Essex Skipper
3. Large Skipper
4. Dingy Skipper (BAP)
5. Clouded Yellow
6. Large White
7. Small White
8. Green Veined White
9. Orange-tip
10. Small Copper
11. Brown Argus (Peak District Race)
12. Common Blue
13. Red Admiral
14 Painted Lady
15. Small Tortoiseshell
16. Peacock
17. Comma
18. Dark Green Fritillary
19. Speckled Wood
20. Wall Brown (BAP)
21. Gatekeeper
22. Meadow Brown
23. Ringlet
24. Small Heath (BAP)
25. Brimstone
26. Holly Blue
 
Possible additional species
Green Hairstreak
Purple Hairstreak (BAP)
White Letter Hairstreak (BAP)
The management of Hoe Grange is a partnership. Longcliffe Quarries provides all funding with professional management carried out by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust who include the old quarry in their portfolio of nature reserves. Specialist habitat advice and wardens are provided by Butterfly Conservation.

In 2017 a very successful open day was held at Hoe Grange which was featured on BBC Radio Derby and BBC East Midlands Today. A further open day took place in June 2018 with over 800 attendees and was again featured on BBC East Midlands Today.

The partnership continues to work to improve the nature reserve for butterflies. Wych elm have been planted to attract white letter hairstreak while buckthorn has been planted to attract brimstone. Plug plants of dog violet have also been introduced which are the larval food plant of the fritillaries.

A new pond has recently been dug and a large dew pond restored. The old pond was cleared of debris and a butyl liner laid on fine rock dust. Rock dust was then placed above the liner and pitching stones set above the dust. The pond will be a good habitat for great crested newts and other amphibians.

During 2018, additional land around the reserve will be used to create a new hay meadow. Overly nutrient-rich topsoil will be scraped off, the area chain harrowed and a special mix of calcareous grassland grasses and flowers will be sown.