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Dew pond restoration at Hoe Grange

January 31, 2020
January 31, 2020 - Dew pond restoration at Hoe Grange

From time to time the Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group (DARG) have visited Hoe Grange to monitor the Great Crested Newt population in the main farmyard dew pond. This involves occasional late night vigils by torchlight during the summer months to count them as the emerge to the edge of the water.

Dew pond restoration

Over the years the bull rushes and reeds have slowly taken over the pond and severely reduced the amount of open water, and it was decided that it needed to be cleared out. As Great Crested newts are a protected species only licenced groups may undertake the cleaning out of ponds where they are known to be present.

Several groups of volunteers have tried to do this by hand over the years, but it was proving to be far too big a job. Luckily due to the hard work of Chris from DARG funding was located to get  the correct machinery in to do the job.

Clearing pond by hand

Clearing pond by hand

Bring in the big machines!

Any work needs to be done in the winter months when the newts are all hibernating in the nearby stone walls, so the rush was on to get a window in the weather. Last week Contractor Dan Spencer moved in with his equipment.

Pumping out the water

First the water was pumped out, then the silt and vegetation were dug out and tipped in a field where it will compost down.

Pumping out the pond

Great care was taken not to disturb the stone lining or the clay beneath as this would prevent the pond from holding water.

Our dew pond revealed itself to be far deeper than any of us imagined, so much so that digger disappeared completely below the rim!

Dan and his able assistant Jim then cleared the remaining silt from between the stones by hand.


Now we just need to wait for some rain to help refill the pond ready for spring. Water captured from nearby building roofs is piped across to the pond, hopefully it won’t take too long

Empty pond

About DARG

The  Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group covers the whole of Derbyshire including part of the Peak District National Park.

The group aims are to promote the study and conservation of the amphibians and reptiles of Derbyshire and their habitats. This is achieved by:

  • raising awareness of the ecology and conservation needs of Derbyshire's amphibians and reptiles
  • undertaking practical conservation projects such as ours
  • running approximately 20 "Toads on Road patrols"at locations across the county every spring during the toad migration season
  • carrying out regular reptile and amphibian surveys
  • organising amphibian and reptile training sessions for members and the public
  • providing advice and information and answering queries for the public
  • developing recording, monitoring and research initiatives
  • providing a forum for those interested in amphibians and reptiles
  • working in partnership with other relevant organisations

Derbyshire ARG always welcome new members to the group, please email them on derbyshirearg@gmail.com to join.

Read more about our efforts to help the local wildlife on our Environment page

Thanks to the Derbyshire ARG our dew pond is all cleared out ready for the newts to get back in the water for Spring. All we need now is some rain to fill it up!


Areial view of empty pond

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Hoe Grange Holidays Tripadvisor Comments...

  •   We stayed for a night in one of the cabins . The cabin was spotless and very well equipped , lots of extra touches were added like fresh eggs and... read more


      We stayed in Pinder cabin and had a lovely stay, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, nice and warm after cold days out. The children loved meeting the animals and... read more


      Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M
  •   lovely surroundings real farm country with chickens paying you a visit nice decking area to chill at the end of the day accommodation very good plenty to do nearby... read more

    vincent s

      We had a lovely time staying in one of the incredibly well equipped pods. I bought my pony along and we had some great rides on the high peak trail.... read more


      We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H
  •   It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more


      Loved every minute of our stay, and so did the family and friends that came to stay. Excellent facilities in our cosy Hipley log cabin. By far the best... read more


      Recently spent a week in "Pinder" and had a lovely time. The location is stunning - the site is nestled in a beautiful valley on the edge of the Peaks... read more

  •   We've just returned from our second visit to Hoe Grange. The suggested riding routes with stunning scenery were enjoyed by my daughter and I while the menfolk were delighted with... read more


      We stayed in the Skylark pod last October (2018) and had a lovely time. There was homemade, rustic goods (bread, biscuits etc) when we arrived. Felicity and David who run... read more


      What can I say?
    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
    It was our first trip away with my... read more

  •   What a wonderful find. As our first experience of needing accessible accommodation we could not have wished for better. Beautiful well equipped lodges in lovely surroundings. We stayed in both... read more


      Felicity and David made us feel very welcome right from our booking. The pods are well equipped and spotlessly clean. The area is very peaceful with great views and we... read more


      A beautiful place to stay! Amazingly run family business! Everyone were very welcoming, friendly and cozy! The skylark pod we stayed in was very clean, cozy and well equipped! The... read more

  •   We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more


      We stayed in Skylark, one of the two glamping pods available at Hoe Grange in February 2020.

    Felicity & David welcomed us when we arrived to show us around... read more


      On arriving at Hoe Grange in a downpour, we doubted if we’d made the right decision to go glamping, but after the warm welcome from David and a quick tour,... read more

  •   For the second year running, we have had a great family holiday at Hoe Grange. We had one cabin for the week, for two sisters and our elderly wheelchair-using... read more


      Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more


      We wanted a complete break and some peace and quiet and this was perfect. The caravan was secluded with beautiful views over the countryside. Everything was spotlessly clean and well... read more

    joanne B
  •   What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more


      We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more


      Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more

  •   We have just returned from a short stay in one of the pods on site at Hoe Grange Holidays. We couldn’t recommend them enough. The pod has everything you could... read more


      Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more


      Myself and my sister travelled to Costa Rica and Panama via Viva Holidays Ltd. The holiday was exceptional and one to be treasured forever. Andrew at Viva Holidays... read more

    Paula C
  •   We stayed in Rainster cabin for a long weekend 6 th to 9 th September. This was my 5 th visit to the amazing Hoe Grange. I had visited before... read more

    Jan Horsman J

      Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B

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