Black Grouse return to the Upper Derwent Valley

Black Grouse
Black Grouse: Hopefully sights such as this will become commonplace in Peak District (Photo: Ian F.)

Severn Trent Water and the National Trust, supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, have begun the re-introduction of Black Grouse to the Upper Derwent Valley, in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District. 90 birds will be released in the area over the next three years and this is the first time an introduction of this scale has been carried out in the UK.

Thirty fully-fledged young Black Grouse will be released each year, with the first thirty birds being released at three different sites in the Upper Derwent Valley. The first release took place on Friday 10 October.

Black Grouse disappeared from the Upper Derwent Valley in the late 1980s and finally disappeared entirely from the Peak District National Park in 2000.

Andy Warren, conservation advisor at Severn Trent Water said: “The project has taken over a year to plan and is the first of its kind in the UK in terms of sheer numbers of birds being re-introduced to the area. It’s a great achievement for the partnership and more importantly will have international significance and could provide a blueprint for similar re-introductions across the world.”

The Black Grouse being released have origins in the north of England and have been bred in captivity in north Wales. All the birds will be fitted with radio tags to monitor their survival and success.

Steve Trotter from the National Trust said: “A return to traditional moorland management techniques has played a large part in ensuring suitable habitat in the Upper Derwent Valley is now more evidently available than at any other time in the past 50 years. It’s a great step towards achieving Government targets to restore Black Grouse to their original sites by 2008-11.”

Written by: Matthew Capper