The Landscape Projects were designed to restore significant views, manage parklands and a coniferous woodland and local nature reserve set within the landscape.
Similarly to the natural heritage projects a lot of the on the ground work was carried out by the Landscape Conservation Volunteer Team headed by Dave Savage and Fergus MacArthur.
Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve – The Darley and Nutwood Grazing Project looked to restore, manage and protect the grassland on the reserve by clearing scrub, providing fencing and stock handling facilities on the main field, providing fencing on the Northern boundary to prevent access by neighbouring stock animals. It also looked to invite interest from local farmers to graze their stock. An interpretation panel detailing the wildlife and history of the site was produced and installed.
Willersley Castle – Willersley Castle is a Grade II* listed late 18th Century mansion designed by the architect William Thomas for the industrial pioneer Sir Richard Arkwright. The picturesque parkland was designed and laid out by John Webb. It is designated as a Grade II registered park and garden.
To quote the register description for the park ‘….The ground rises to Cat Tor, a rocky peak c80m north-west of the Castle, from which there are extensive views north and west along the Derwent gorge and across Matlock Bath to the Heights of Abraham, and south-west across the Derwent to the late C18 and C19 Masson Mill.’
The Castle is now a hotel owned by the Willersley Guild with the majority of the former parkland belonging to the Guild although the land which is being considered also includes land belonging to the Arkwright Society and the Church of England (St Mary’s Church). This project consisted of producing, securing match funding and implementing a management plan for the parkland.
Milford Plantation – Milford Plantation is a 1.7 ha communally owned, conifer woodland, located within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
This project trained the owners to manage the woodland by thinning and replanting, repairing dry stone walls, reinstating historical paths and interpretation of the historical landscape in relation to the Industrial revolution and wealthy landowners.
Following the initial archaeological survey and woodland management plan, work began to thin the trees. Work was carried out by contractors and members. Members were trained in chainsaw and brush cutter use to enable work to continue and enable skills to be shared. All areas of the woodland were made accessible and the canopy opened up. 50 new broad-leaf species were planted to improve the mix of species in the plantation.
Saving the view – The original riverside meadows chosen for this project to open up views and screen industrial development changed due to the change in use by the land owner. An agreement was reached to open up views in Darley Park along the river corridor to re-engage users of the park with the river and mills. Derby City Council took over the delivery of the project.
Opening up iconic views – Iconic Views are views that are ‘readily recognised as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities. In order to understand the landscape one has to be able to ‘stand and stare’ and appreciate the story behind the view.
Projects to conserve existing views and reveal lost views, in addition to using views for fixed point photography and expanding the visitor experience in the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site (DVWHS). Projects focused in the first year on Scarthin Rocks and then expanded to various locations in the lower Derwent Valley.
Darley Park CMP – Preparation of a Conservation Management Plan focussing on the C18 and early C19 Darley Park and encompassing other associated open spaces and historic sites. Plan to be in a format suitable to inform the application for Green Flag status for Darley Park.