Wildlife Site Visits and Talks

We have regular programmes of Spring-Summer wildlife site visits (including surveys and bioblitz events) and Autumn-Winter talks. On this page you can see our currently active programme, plus news of our next programme.

To find out the complete details of the next wildlife site visit or talk, please go to our Facebook page.

If you want to see the programmes of our past walks and talks, click this button.

Our talks for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons are available for all to view on our YouTube channel.

BFC Wildlife Site Visit at High Rake, 27th May 2023 (DP)

Summer Sites Visits Programme 2024

Programme Details

If joining us for a site visit, please make sure that you’ve read the health and safety checklist at the end of this programme – thank you.

Corbar Woods and Corbar Hill with Jon Mortin Saturday 4th May 2.30pm
An afternoon stroll through Corbar Woods to appreciate the magnificent drifts of Bluebells which it is noted for. Corbar Woods is Ancient Woodland and we will also see other botanical indicators of this such as Ramsons and Wood Anemone. We will also climb up onto Corbar Hill for panoramic views of Buxton. Hopefully we can improve the list of species records here and should spot Meadow Pipits and Western Gorse.
We will aim to spend around 1 hour in the woods and 1 hour on the hill. Walking mainly on footpaths with some steep uphill sections.

Start: Entrance to Corbar Woods from Corbar Road (Corbar Woods Lane) SK055740. Plenty of parking along Corbar Road.

Cunning Dale Bryophytes with County Recorder Tom Blockeel and Helen Waterman Saturday 18th May 10:30am
Cunning Dale is an SSSI limestone dale with areas of grassland and woodland, and is home to a wide variety of mosses and liverworts (bryophytes) as well as many flowers, birds and insects. The morning will be an introduction to bryophytes in the first section of the dale by Tom, a renowned expert, and for those who would like to stay for the afternoon exploring further down the dale, you might like to bring lunch. Cunning Dale is fairly level though the path is uneven and rocky in places.

Meet: Dale Lane, Buxton SK17 7LA where parking is available. OS ref. SK079730

Danes Moss with Di Moss and Andrew Emmerson of Macc Wild. Saturday 8 June 10.30am
Danes Moss, close to the centre of Macclesfield, is an ancient lowland peat bog rich in birds, insects and plants. It is also the location for a strongly opposed development scheme for 900 houses. The trip is a combined chance to see its superb wildlife and familiarise BFC visitors with its issues.

Meet: Brunel Road in Lyme Green Business Park – access off London Road, A523 to Leek – with parking on roadside near Home Bargains. OS ref: SJ912711. Easy flat walking c.2-4 hrs. Bring packed lunch

Cowdale Quarry exploration and recording with Emily Howes and Steve Orridge Saturday 29th June 10.00am
Cowdale Quarry is located just outside Buxton and, since industrial activity ceased, it has developed a wide range of habitats. It is now owned by Nestle and managed for nature by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and together with the adjacent Cowdale Local Wildlife Site, the reserve includes limestone grassland, ancient semi-natural woodland dating back to at least 1600, open mosaic habitats, more recent broad-leaved woodland, hay meadows, limestone dale-side grassland and more agriculturally improved grasslands, as well as scree, boulder and rock face habitats formed by the quarrying process. This exciting site has great potential for wildlife, and already hosts a variety of wildflowers (such as Rock Rose and Melancholy Thistle), birds and mammal species, so, there should be some interesting plants and invertebrates waiting to be discovered. We will meet at the gate at the lane into the quarry, grid ref. SK08237212. Coming from the A6, drive up the hill to the top. There is a slight bend to the left and a house on the corner to the right with a double garage. Turn left from the Midhsires Way when you reach the road, to find the house. The Lane starts to the left of the house (green arrow in photo below).
There is some very limited roadside parking in the village of Cowdale so the best options are car-sharing from Buxton, or walking from Staden Lane to the site down the Midshires Way (approximately 20-minute walk). There are no footpaths around the site and the terrain is very variable but the quarry bottom area and the top meadows are even and flat. At the time of the visit there may be cattle. Numbers and location will be reported nearer the time.
The site is large – for those that came to the Millers Dale Quarry walk, Cowlow quarry and pastures covers around four times the area, so bringing lunch would probably be a good idea for those that want to cover a few of the different areas. The visit will take a minimum of two hours but stops and inspection of the local wildlife could add several more hours to the day!

Bamford Bash and Recording with Lewis Coupland Saturday 6 July 10.30am
For the past 35 years, The Beeches has been home to an everchanging community which had the environment at its core; creating ponds, planting trees and growing their own fruit, to try and live a more sustainable life, but this is normally off limits to members of the public. Set in 10 acres of mixed habitat, it is the former offices of the Derwent Valley Water Board, and though its past may stem from the building of a dam, flooding of a valley and the industrial railway line that enabled this, it is now host to a wide array of fungi, wildflowers and birdlife, including yellow brain fungus, perforate St John’s-wort and goshawk. Back in July 2014 the South Yorkshire arm of the British Naturalists’ Association conducted a 24 hour bioblitz, which yielded a broad array of findings. Hopefully this will provide a good baseline for our own recording on site, seeing what has changed, for better or worse, over the past 10 years. Should time allow, we may extend the visit to include a section of the bridleway which runs along the old route of the aforementioned railway line, to visit the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Thornhill Carrs. Bring lunch!
Address – Quaker Community, The Beeches, Water Lane, Bamford, S33 0DA Grid ref – SK 20137 82983
Quaker garden: ~1.5km level ground, some muddy sections and a few trees to duck under in places. As a walk around ~45m, as a stop-and-look-at/record-many-things visit ~2 hours.
To, around and from DWT Thornhill Carrs ~4km. Level bridleway, but option to gain elevation a little to access other areas of the reserve and come back along a path with some steps/muddy patches. ~1h 30m-2h
Good amount of parking just after the main house, on the right. Should this get full, there is additional parking ~400m away at Thornhill recreation ground, near the River Derwent.

Stanton Moor with Mark Cocker Saturday 20 July 10.30 am
Stanton Moor is an area of east-Derbyshire moor with oak and birch woodland. It is a short (two-hour) circular walk of about 1.5 miles for birds, fungi, insects and plant as well as the wider vegetation. There are spectacular views over the surrounding countryside as well as the remarkable Nine Ladies Stone Circle.
Meet at the Birchover Red Lion pub/restaurant in the middle of the village on the left (OS Ref SK 238622) or anywhere thereafter. Bring lunch but the pub offers alternative opportunities.

Grinlow and Anthony Hill with Jon Mortin Saturday 3rd August 2:00pm
Starting at the Grinlow Car Park by the Caravan Club (not the Poole’s Cavern Car Park) we will walk towards Ladmanlow (along a section of the Dane Valley Way), then past Stanley Moor Reservoir and Anthony Hill towards Turncliff. We should see Orchids in the car park area and limestone grassland flora along Anthony Hill. There are several interesting wetland areas where we should find Bog Pondweed, Dragonflies and River Limpets.
We can meet in the picnic area at the car park where attendees can enjoy a picnic lunch before the walk if they wish. The walk will follow public footpaths including ones across HSE land. We will aim to be back at the car park by around 6pm.
Start: Grinlow Car Park (next to Caravan Club) SK048719 vehicle access via A53 at Ladmanlow or on foot via Grinlow Woods.
NB the gate to the car park is locked in the evenings at 8pm in August. There is a £2 parking charge via an honesty box and public toilets and a coffee van.

Buxton Field Club
Health and Safety checklist
While our site visits are usually leisurely and sedate affairs, it is still important to come properly equipped and aware of any possible risks. The leaders for each visit are there to lend their expert knowledge of the natural world and it is therefore each individual’s responsibility to keep themselves safe.
Please therefore read the following checklist before coming on one of the Field Club site visits.
•  Wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear with good grip and take extra care if the ground seems slippery or rough.
•  Bring walking poles/sticks for any rough or hilly walking.
•  Bring a drink and food with you* and carry suitable maps/equipment and basic first aid kit
•  Take regular breaks if needed and if necessary wear hat and sun block and cover skin
•  Be aware of obstacles such as low branches, tree stumps etc
•  Take care around edges eg ponds, rivers, mine shafts and cliffs and be aware of the danger of falling rocks
•  Keep contact with the main party and if you leave early, please let the group leader know.
•  Inspect for ticks and if necessary follow the advice here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/skin-injuries/tick-bites
•  Be aware of the possibility of injury from thorns, plant sap or stings and adequately protect open wounds
•  Be cautious around animals

*As signatories to, and supporters of, Plastic Free Buxton, please can we encourage you to avoid using single-use plastic when putting your picnic together!

Autumn-Winter Talks Programme 2023-24

Here is the programme for this season’s talks (2023-24). 

The talks are held live at Buxton Methodist Church Hall, Chapel Street, Buxton SK17 6HX, starting at 7.00pm. (The Save Danes Moss event on 16th March will be at St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Market Place, Macclesfield SK10 1DY.)

Everyone is very welcome. There is a £3 charge for non-members.

All the talks are recorded and available (to members only) on our YouTube channel. In view of the great success of our Gardening for Wildlife talk and Q&A on 10th February (a packed audience) and our desire to share and promote this topic more widely, we have, with the agreement of the speakers, made this recording publicly available on our YouTube channel. Go to our page The Video Galleries for the link.

Date of talk



Saturday 14th October 2023

Ruth Tingay

Who’s killing Scotland’s golden eagles & how have they got away with it for so long? 

The talk will focus on the ongoing illegal killing of golden eagles in Scotland, how satellite tracking has helped to uncover the extent of the crimes, and how the Scottish Government is now teetering on the edge of significant new legislation designed to stop the carnage. It will be followed by a wider conversation with Mark Cocker, multi-award-winning author and naturalist, about the decades-long killing of raptors in our uplands and their implications for all nature in Britain.
Ruth Tingay has worked in the field of raptor conservation on five continents over a 30-year career. Her PhD focused on the critically endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle and she is currently part of a team satellite-tracking golden eagles and white-tailed eagles in Scotland. She is a former Past President of the Raptor Research Foundation and has authored many scientific papers and reports. Since 2010 she has been a prominent campaigner against the illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK and she writes the influential Raptor Persecution UK blog https://raptorpersecutionuk.org/ which has attracted over 8 million views.
She is also a co-founder and co-director of campaign group Wild Justice https://wildjustice.org.uk/ with colleagues Chris Packham and Dr Mark Avery.

Saturday 28th October 2023

Joe Alsop,

Natural England

Ash Dieback: Woodland Management and the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve

A truly excellent, informative and surprisingly optimistic talk with Q&A by Joe Alsop, Senior Reserve Manager for Natural England on the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve. An introduction to the history, sites, habitats and importance of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve, with a special focus on Natural England’s pioneering woodland management work in response to ash dieback, aiming to mitigate its impacts whilst restoring a more natural woodland composition. Joe Alsop started his career in conservation in 1996 at Broomfield college, Derby and has since worked throughout Britain for a number of different companies and conservation bodies, in a variety of roles in the countryside management, conservation, arboriculture and forestry sectors.

Joe has been kind enough to share 3 articles that are of interest relevant to this subject. These can be found by clicking on the following headings:

Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus): Experience from continental Europe
Joe Alsop
Quarterly Journal of Forestry. July 2015.

Risk Assessing for the Likely Loss of Ash
Joe Alsop and Emma Goldberg
Quarterly Journal of Forestry. January 2018.

Observations from two decades of hay meadow restoration
Dan Abrahams
Conservation Land Management. Autumn 2019.

Saturday 11th November 2023

Paul Finn

The Conservation Dilemma: Biodiversity or Access. Can we have both or must we choose?

The big challenge for the conservation land manager today is how to ensure biodiversity can survive, and even improve, when it has to share space with increasing numbers of people using greenspace. It’s essential that we maximise benefits for both biodiversity and people, so we have to find a way to balance these two conflicting uses.
Ecosystems are incredibly complex, and that complexity increases when people are factored into the equation. And, as every site is unique, and subject to constant change, it’s not possible to have a universal prescription for the management of every site. However, Paul draws on his experience of conservation land management to break the problem down into a number of key points, developing a thought process that can be applied to any site at any time.
Paul Finn has almost 30 years’ experience of practical, hands on, countryside management, specialising in managing land for both people and biodiversity. He worked for the National Trust in upland management, managed major country parks in Nottinghamshire, taught at university, and was Head Ranger for Derbyshire County Council. He led on habitat management in general, and trees and woodlands in particular. And every day was a learning day.

Saturday 25th November 2023

Emily Howes,

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Landscape Restoration in the Peak District

An excellent and interesting talk from Emily Howes to Buxton Field Club on 25th November 2023. The Peak District is home to a range of incredible sites for wildlife, and in the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis, connecting these important habitats offers hope for nature’s recovery. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust aims to connect the wider landscape between these wildlife hotspots to create resilient ecosystems that allow nature to thrive across the Peak District. This talk explores the spectrum of landscape restoration and habitat management approaches used throughout the Trust’s reserves in the region to maintain and improve these habitats and restore their connectivity, and how everyone can get involved in helping to restore a Wilder Peak District.

Emily Howes is the Living Landscapes Assistant for the Dark and White Peak at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. She runs regular volunteering sessions at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves around the region and assists with planning and delivering habitat management works across DWT sites in the Peak District.

Saturday 13th January 2024

Fiona Dunbar

The Wildflowers of Crete

A joyful and expert guide by Fiona Dunbar to the wildlife of Crete, giving us some much needed warmth and sunshine on a dark January night. Fiona first travelled to Crete in 1987 to work for 6 weeks on a conservation project. She stayed for 6 months, returning the following two seasons to set up a new project site in the west of the Island.

In 1994 she jointly founded the wildlife travel company Greentours, funded more by blind optimism than actual cash, which will be 30 years old next year. Crete was the first tour to run in 1994, and has run almost every year since. Fiona has a very soft spot for the wildlife, culture, language and landscapes of the Island, and welcomes the opportunity to share some of her love of the island, and the influence it has had on her.

Saturday 27th January 2024

Dr Marie Athorn

Bats of Derbyshire

Learn all about the secretive world of bats in Derbyshire and the UK and what you can to do to help them thrive.

Dr Marie Athorn has been involved in bat conservation and working with bats close up in the hand for over 8 years, regularly taking part in monitoring and research projects to support bats across the UK, through bat box checks and research trapping sessions. Now living again in Derbyshire she shares her passion for bats by leading bat box checks and walks in her home county. Her love of bats started with her job as an ecological consultant and she still gets to do a bit of work with bats in her current role at the RSPB where she is a business conservation advisor. Here she works as part of a partnership between the RSPB and The R&A, helping golf courses to support nature of all kinds and championing golf courses that do great stuff for nature. Throughout her career she has worked with industry and other land owners to deliver conservation work, following on from her PhD on constructed reedbeds that treat sewage or wastewater and looking at their value for wildlife. 

Saturday 10th February 2024

Mark Cocker,

Rachel Evatt,

Sandra Nock,

Jill Westrick

Gardening for Wildlife: How to do it and ‘Question Time’ expert panel

A really fantastic evening at Buxton Field Club on wildlife gardening. Huge thanks to our amazing and knowledgeable panel, our brilliant audience – there was literally standing room only, and to everyone who helped with refreshments.

Due to its success and the wide interest in this subject, which we would really like to share and promote, we are putting this video up on our YouTube channel for public viewing rather than restricting it to BFC members. Go to our page The Video Galleries for the link.

Our panel were:

Mark Cocker: for seven years Mark owned and managed five-acres of old Norfolk fen, developing new habitats, reinstating clean water dykes, digging ponds and meadow-making to attract invertebrates, plants and birds including 14 species of dragonfly and nearly 50 hoverfly species. In Buxton he and Mary inherited a flower-rich garden that they are slowly evolving into something especially friendly to bees, including bilberry bumblebee, but also solitary wasps, spiders and people.

Rachel Evatt: along with her husband Geoff, own and run Sunart Fields, a 125 acre farm near Whaley Bridge which is being managed for nature. Over the past four years together with a team of volunteers and helpers they have planted 39,000 saplings, created 7 new ponds, developed a wildflower meadow, put up many bird boxes, made dead wood piles and created leaky dams. In 2022 Rachel, Geoff and Sandra Nock were awarded an RHS Gold Medal at Tatton for their garden “Weed Thriller” which sought to demonstrate how elements of the beauty of the habitats on the land could be brought into the garden space. Rachel is also a Trustee of Rewilding Britain.

Sandra Nock: Sandra’s lifelong love of gardening began on an allotment in Stoke, took her on a brief detour to Kew’s Palm House and resulted in an intense 3 year horticultural traineeship with the National Trust at Dunham Massey in Cheshire. She has spent the past 4 years creating and caring for the gardens at Sunart and says “this beautiful naturalistic garden, alongside my own somewhat ramshackle plot, allows me to learn and put into practice the principles of ecological and sustainable horticulture. In winning the Gold Medal for ‘Weed Thriller’ the rewilding border that we designed and built at RHS Tatton, I like to think we helped spread the message and importance of rewilding to both wider and more traditional audiences.”

Jill Westrick: has have been gardening at altitude with attitude for almost 26 years and has created a biodiverse haven between Buxton and Flash for all manner of flora and fauna.

Saturday 24th February 2024

John Beatty

Adventures in the Wild

A brilliant, emotive and inspirational talk from John Beatty to Buxton Field Club on 24th February, covering a selection of his expeditions and adventures from an extraordinary life as a wildlife photographer in far flung places around the world. Extraordinary images and fascinating stories, told with wisdom, humility and wit.

Saturday 9th March 2024

Richard Sale and Steve Watson

The Peregrine Falcon

This was a free, joint event with Derbyshire Ornithological Society. The talk was a fascinating insight into this iconic bird, covering all worldwide sub-species, the breeding cycle, eyesight, hunting methodologies, flight dynamics, population data for UK and the world, a few humorous anecdotes and lots of HD images and video.

Richard Sale has co-authored several books on raptors including ‘The Gyrfalcon’ and ‘The Snowy Owl’. He has also co-authored self-published books on ‘Steller’s Sea Eagle’, and ‘The Eurasian Hobby’. He also wrote the New Naturalist title ‘Falcons’ and authored the self-published ‘The Common Kestrel’ and ‘The Merlin’. He was awarded the ‘US Wildlife Society Book of the Year’ in 2006, 2019 and 2021.

Steve Watson has conducted a 40-year study into the Peregrine Falcons at Symonds Yat and is a Trustee of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group CIO, Raptor Aid CIO and a committee member of South West Peregrines. He produces and fronts presentations on Peregrines and Goshawks for RSPB groups and Wildlife organisations throughout the UK.

Saturday 16th March:
An event in
Macclesfield for the
Save Danes Moss

(St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Market Place, Macclesfield SK10 1DY)

Mark Cocker, Mark Chapman,
Laurence Rose & Steve Ely

The Willow Tit and the
Threatened Landscape of Danes

Saturday 23rd March 2024

Louise and Stephen Moon

Brazil’s Best Kept Secret – The Pantanal

If you want to find out more about our programmes, you can contact us using our Contact form, and we will get back to you.