Annesley Woodhouse Quarry Name: Annesley Woodhouse Quarry



Annesley Woodhouse Quarry Name: Annesley Woodhouse Quarry
Annesley Woodhouse Quarry
Name: Annesley Woodhouse Quarry
Location: Annesley
Size: 5 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1996
Tenure: Freehold and leasehold
Habitat Type: Grassland
Key Species: Common rock-rose, harebell, willow
warbler and small heath.
History of the Site
Annesley Woodhouse Quarry comprises of one of Nottinghamshire's finest remaining
areas of unimproved Magnesian Limestone grassland. Nottinghamshire's Magnesian
Limestone is an especially valuable element of the county's biodiversity making this
reserve of county and national importance. Once part of the Annesley Quarry, the
area was formerly used for limestone quarry extraction. It was the presence of the
limestone ash produced during the extraction process, which gave rise to the rare
Limestone grassland habitat.
The majority of the reserve was purchased by the Nature Conservancy Council in
1985. Following this, on 17 February 1999, the land was then transferred to the
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on a 60-year lease for a rent price of £1 per year.
Most of the remainder of the site was purchased by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife
Trust from the British Coal Corporation in 1996, for the sum of £1, in a transaction
including the purchase of nearby Bog's Farm Quarry nature reserve.
Site Description
Annesley Woodhouse Quarry nature reserve lies within the Ashfield District of
Nottinghamshire, to the north of Salmon Lane, just west of Annesley Woodhouse.
Within the surrounding area the reserve is well connected to other important sites
allowing the flow of wildlife through the area. Bog's Farm Quarry SSSI is a site of
considerable neutral grassland interest located approximately 0.5km west-northwest, which is linked by a tract of wildlife-rich land known as Bentinck Void. In
summer 2000, the decision was made to designate this site as a SINC. In addition,
four further SINC’s are less than 1km from Annesley Woodhouse Quarry.
At 5 hectares, the reserve is relatively large. Scrub was the largest habitat type
however, this has now been reduced through scrub clearance and management. The
species rich grassland area covers just over 2.25 of the 5 hectares and was
designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1981. Interesting plant
species found on the grassland include rockrose, bee orchid, common spotted orchid
meadow oat-grass cowslip and bird's-foot-trefoil. The site’s steep open slope
supports plants typical of limestone soils, such as tor-grass, quaking-grass, cowslip,
yellow-wort, and bird’s-foot trefoil, along with herbs like burnet saxifrage, wild thyme,
small scabious and purging flax. More neutral grassland dominated by tall fescue is
found on the more level ground.
The small area of marsh at the lower western side of the reserve is dominated by
meadowsweet, hard rush and float grass and supports many wetland plants including
marsh marigold, fen bedstraw, marsh valerian, adder’s tongue fern and ragged robin.
Site Management
The quarry is a good example of natural colonisation from an entirely artificial feature.
Many years of traditional low intensity agricultural management maintained the
botanically-rich grassland. Cattle previously grazed the area in order to conserve the
grassland species, but the cessation of grazing for a period in the late 1990s allowed
scrub, predominately hawthorn and gorse, to become established. Extensive patches
of scrub threatened to overwhelm the species-rich grassland.
The main objective is conservation and enhancement of the range of grassland types
present, particularly that found on the Magnesian Limestone. Lack of grazing in
recent years had been a cause of concern, so the site has been fenced to enable the
re-introduction of sheep in 2002. A combination of low intensity grazing and selective
scrub removal has renovated the grassland. Retention of limited amounts of scrub is
also beneficial to a wide range of invertebrates and birds. Hawthorn scrub is being
removed to reduce the amount on site, but some areas will be allowed to regenerate
to create stands of scrub of different ages to provide habitat for a range of species.
Regular early cutting to reduce vigour of patches of hogweed, thistle and nettle.
Key Species
Grassland elements of the reserve are diverse in flora and fauna, while areas of
scrub are comparatively species-poor. Overall, diversity is likely to have dropped
significantly as scrub has increased at the expense of grassland in recent decades.
However, the existing mosaic of grassland, wetland and scrub is still rich in species.
Several of the plants are locally uncommon, such as betony, harebell, common rockrose, devil's-bit scabious, great burnet, salad burnet and bee orchid.
The site is of interest for a range of widespread birds associated with scrub and
grassland. A range of birds breed on the reserve, including willow warbler and
redpoll. The sunny grassland slopes provide habitat for a wide range of invertebrates,
such as butterflies. Species recorded include common blue, meadow brown and
small heath.
Future Aspirations
The future for the Annesley Woodhouse Quarry site lies primary within a
management perspective. It s envisaged that the biodiversity of the grassland will
increase with continuing appropriate management. Himalayan Balsam is a problem
in the wetland area of the reserve, therefore future efforts will focus on the
eradication of this invasive species. In addition, greater linkage and connectivity with
the surrounding area, in particular Bogs Farm and Bentinck Void, is proposed for the
future of the reserve.
Key Resources Available
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Annesley Woodhouse Quarry\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
Key Person Interviews – Ruth Testa, August 2013
Ashtons Meadow
Name: Ashton's Meadow
Location: East of Retford
Size: 3.6 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1985
Tenure: Freehold
Habitat Type: Neutral grassland
Key Species: Cowslip, orchids, yellow rattle and
bulbous buttercup.
History of the Site
Ashton’s meadow has been described as the best example of a species-rich neutral
grassland in Nottinghamshire. A comparatively small but very significant site, the
meadow covers an area of 3.6 hectares which is one of the largest remaining areas
of wildflower-rich grassland in Nottinghamshire. The site was completely unknown
until the early 1980s, as the “phase 1 survey” of the county had failed to detect it. At
that time, one of the Trust’s key volunteers in the north of the county was Eirlys
Gilbert, a teacher at Girls Grammar School in Retford. A lesson about wild flowers
led to a pupil saying that she knew a field full of wild flowers and to the discovery of
this site, which was quickly identified as of SSSI quality. The meadow was owned by
the Ashton brothers who had inherited it in 1966 and managed it in a traditional way
which preserved and enhanced the natural biodiversity of neutral grassland.
Before the SSSI designation process was even complete, one of the brothers wished
to retire and all their land was put on the market for sale by auction in 1985 this led to
frantic discussion with the Auctioneer, the District Valuer, the Nature Conservancy
Council, the Countryside Commission and the World Wildlife Fund. Grant-givers do
not like the uncertainties of sale by auction, but on the day before the sale, the
auctioneer offered to sell to the Trust before the Auction at the average price secured
at a previous Sale. This was agreed, if NWT could deliver the deposit to
Gainsborough before noon the next day. This was done, using a personal cheque,
and the meadow was saved, together with its one hundred thousand cowslips, as
estimated by a team of botanists from Nottingham University under Jack Riely.
Ashton’s Meadow was the site of a chance meeting between a member of the Trust’s
Council and a family party visiting on an open day in the 1980s. The grandfather in
the party was an old acquaintance who later proved to be a trustee of a major
charitable trust and asked whether NWT could use any support. Within a few
months, they were funding a new officer working in the Erewash Valley and during
the next few years they became even more generous and must have contributed
around half-a-million pounds to aid NWT’s development at a critical stage in its
history. What a piece of luck!
Shortly after the site was acquired, the Trust was approached by Aberystwyth
University who wanted to collect seed of "S 23 Commercial Perrenial Rye-Grass" as
part of some research that the university was undertaking and Ashton's Meadow was
the prime source for this.
Site Description
The meadow can be found approximately 2km east of Treswell Wood, in north-east
Nottinghamshire. Comprising of a single ridge-and-furrow field surrounded by
hedges, the site also includes ditch systems on the eastern and northern boundaries.
This attractive site is gently sloping and sits approximately 25m above sea level on
neutral, heavy, clay soils developed from rocks of the underlying Triassic Mercia
Site Management
Historically the management has been poorly recorded, but the site was cut in
summer for a hay crop followed by aftermath grazing. Evidence of large quantities of
hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) towards the south western corner of the site
indicates that at some point the site was a favoured cattle resting area.
Today, the site is again managed to maintain and enhance the meadow’s diverse
neutral grassland. This is done by ensuring the continuation of the traditional use of
the meadow, which includes late cutting for hay and short periods of aftermath
grazing by approximately 20 Hebridean sheep from September to November. Stiles
and footpaths are also maintained as part of the management plan.
Management of the reserve was previously funded through English Nature's Reserve
Enhancement Scheme (RES) from May 1994 to April 2004. The site also received
substantial financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund during the period 03
August 1998 to 02 August 2003, for hedge laying and planting, fencing and
installation of signs. The site now forms part of a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
agreement with Natural England which runs from August 2008 to July 2018 and
which funds various habitat management works.
Key Species
In April 1999, a brief botanical survey confirmed that the grassland was very
botanically-rich throughout, including large populations of species such as cowslip
(Primula veris), pignut (Conopodium majus), bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus
bulbosus), oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
and erect brome (Bromopsis erecta). Also present are adder's-tongue
(Ophioglossum vulgatum) and at least 100 flowering spikes of green-winged orchid
(Orchis morio). Populations of green-winged orchid are particularly rare nowadays
having declined across the country over the last few decades as a result agricultural
intensification; therefore this site is extremely important for this species. The number
of flowering spikes increased substantially over the following decade and over 1000
plants were recorded in 2009. Plants restricted to the hedge lines include local
species such as goldilocks and the hybrid between cowslip and primrose, which is
commonly called false oxlip.
Future Aspirations
Ashtons Meadow is a fine example of a rare and valuable habitat that is managed for
the preservation and enhancement of previous rich biodiversity. The Management
plans for the future will focuses on this, with the view to remain the best example of a
species rich neutral grassland in the county. Continued successful management of
the site is also vitally important as the site is an attraction to visitors. Visitors come to
the site to see the flowering green-winged orchids in May and other flora in June and
early July.
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation
(archive edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2011 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Ashton's Meadow\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – John McMeeking August 2013
Attenborough Nature Reserve
Name: Attenborough
Location: Beeston
Size: 325 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1966
Tenure: Freehold (Glebe Field) and Management
Habitat Type: Wetland
Key Species: Bittern, shoveler, nathusius pipistrelle,
dropwort and hairy dragonfly.
History of the Site
Attenborough Nature Reserve represents a link in a series of nationally important
biological sites across the British Isles. Whilst activities of humans have led to the
creation of this habitat, it has largely re-colonised naturally and taken the place of the
natural floodplain wetland resource which has been lost from much of the East
At the end of the last ice age some10,000 years ago, the River Trent was swollen
and flooded from ice melt. The flood water subsequently deposited gravel which was
carried down from the sounding hills over the valley. This was a very important event
in the sites history as the following development of the site is owed to this natural
history event. Prior to sand and gravel extraction, the area formed a large series of
wet meadows, oxbows, wet flashes and varied deposits of organic and mineral
materials. The alluvial deposits supported good grazing and hay meadows, providing
habitat for a wide variety of wetland and farmland birds.
Attenborough was first mentioned in the Domesday Book as consisting of 100 acres
of pasture and 4 acres of willow holt. Willows were unsuccessfully cultivated on
Beeston Marsh from 1919-1931, although a local willow industry had thrived in the
area up to this period. Remnants of the holt can still be seen today on Beeston Marsh
and T Island, located on Beeston Pond.
From 1929, large-scale commercial extraction of the gravel commenced. Materials to
and from the works was done by barge. Subsequently, the protruding and seasonally
submerged islands which can be seen today were produced. The pattern of
excavation of gravel provided habitats of different ages and stages of development.
Completion of the extraction allowed the deep lagoons to regenerate naturally. The
site is still a working quarry, with active gravel extraction now taking place adjacent to
Long Eaton. Aggregate sorting and distribution is carried out at the works in
Attenborough village.
In 1965 the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) was building its Power
Station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar and made an application to infill the pits with Pulverised
Fly Ash. But the pits were already recognized as of great value by both local anglers
and local naturalists, especially bird-watchers, and staff of Nottingham University’s
Zoology Department, led by Dr.Tony Kent, whose students were earning their Ph.D.s
by studies of warblers and Reed-Buntings, working closely with local bird-watchers.
Dr Tony Kent represented the views of the Trust in mounting a robust defence of the
pits in discussions between the CEGB, Beeston and Stapleford Urban District
Council, the Trent River Board, the County Planning Department and the infant Trust.
In the end, the CEGB withdrew their application, and it was felt to be his case and the
planning department’s acceptance of it which had caused the CEGB to take no
further action following planning refusal, and to dispose of the ash in old brick pits
near Peterborough instead.
The site then became the Trust’s first big nature reserve in 1966, when the Reserve
was leased from Trent Gravels Ltd. The opening was performed by David
Attenborough who was awarded honorary life membership of the Trust. It was
estimated that about 500 people attended the ceremony. Subsequently the lease
expired and was replaced by an agreement in 1970 to form a Joint Management
Committee with representatives of the Trust and of the new owners, RMC
Aggregates Ltd, a subsidiary of Ready-Mixed Concrete (RMC), and observers from
relevant official bodies.
This arrangement worked for some years, with varying success, largely depending
on the personalities in the two organizations, a particular problem arising when the
company sought consent to breach the Erewash, and sail their barges across it to
win gravel in Derbyshire. They could not be persuaded that this would let heavily
polluted water into the SSSI pits, whenever either the Trent or the Erewash levels
rose. Ten days after the breach was made, heavy rain led to many feet of flood water
flowing straight through the pits and falling over the Trent bank at the Beeston end.
Much major construction work has been needed over the years to resolve this
Through many more years, the owners continued to expand the areas in Derbyshire
from which they were bringing gravel, while the Reserve Management Committee
and its working parties had a fairly free hand in habitat management. The site
continued to attract exciting birds, with a pair of Black Terns attempting to breed in
1976, for example.: A 24-hour guard was mounted in a caravan over-looking the nest
until Norman Lewis inspected it after three weeks, only to discover that the birds had
been guarding stones, rather than eggs.
For much of this period, the Trust maintained a sales and information caravan on the
“Fisherman’s Car Park” and dreamed of the day when it could be replaced by a real
Visitor Centre. Plans were drawn up, submitted and rejected, mainly on the ground
that they would affect the setting of the village church. Broxtowe’s planners also
believed that Barton Lane should be the main access, rather than the winding route
through the village, and eventually they got their way when the Trust formed a
partnership with the company (now CEMEX) and the District Council to create the
splendid new Nature Centre which was opened (by Sir David again) in March 2005.
The eco friendly building has won prestigious awards from the Royal Institute of
British Architects (RIBA) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). In
partnership with NWT, CEMEX has also won the Cooper Heyman Cup (the Top
Award for Restoration Excellence) from the Quarry Products Association.
The Centre has been a spectacular success, far beyond what we expected, attracting
250,000 visitors per annum, delivering formal education to 4.000 children each year,
and contributing significant Gift Aid towards the Trust’s wider work across the county.
2013 was a difficult and less successful year, as the problems caused by the
Environment Agency’s flood wall construction continued, the weather depressed
visitor numbers, and we even had two week-ends with the railway crossing closed
(which meant closing the Centre too). 2014, however has started well with our new
ACE project raising the Centre’s profile and the special observation blitz to celebrate
our 50th year during 50 hours on August 9th to 11th producing records of no fewer than
748 species, of which 99 were new to the reserve.
Site Description
This now beautiful complex of flooded former gravel pits and islands provides 360
acres of exceptional habitat for a wide range of plants, birds and other wildlife. The
entire complex is located in the valley of the River Trent immediately to the
Southwest of the Nottingham conurbation, 5 miles from the city centre.
The site comprises of a diverse range of habitats including; meadow, reedbed, open
water, grassland, wet woodland, hedgerow and ditch systems. Beeston Pond is the
oldest part of the gravel pit complex, created in the 1940s. It is the northernmost
lagoon, with an area of 15hectares. A purpose-built tern platform was installed in the
late 1990s. The Delta is one of the most valuable and complex features of the SSSI.
It has the largest area of reedbed and marginal vegetation and possibly the largest
continuous expanse of willow woodland in the south of Nottinghamshire. Works Pond
was the first area to be excavated and is still in use. Glebe Field is the only part of
the reserve that is owned by NWT. It is one of the few remaining examples of old wet
meadow in the area and is being managed to improve the grassland as the habitat,
particularly the northern half, had degraded as a result of years of horse grazing.
Coneries Pond is a waterbody of approximately 50ha at the southern end of the
SSSI. Although part of the SSSI, it was traditionally excluded from the nature reserve
complex. However, the decision to site the new visitor centre on its northern shore
effectively brought it into the reserve and included in the management regime. This
was the second most important area of the SSSI for wintering wildfowl. This was the
first place on the SSSI where signs of otter were found in 1999.
Site Management
A great deal of effort has been put into conservation management over the years.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers have worked hard and continued
to do so to maintain and develop the diverse habitats at Attenborough. This includes
maintenance of the footpath network and public areas, as well as designated areas
of restricted access (such as the Delta Sanctuary) and the creation of 'tern islands'.
Much work has been done around the reserve to create new reedbeds and extend
existing ones, and to re-landscape specific areas of the reserve to attract and
encourage more wildlife.
There have been many years of co-operation with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust,
Slimbridge, in undertaking Wildfowl counts. The British Trust for Ornithology's Bird
Ringing Scheme has operated during the last twenty years, making a considerable
contribution to knowledge of bird movements and population dynamics. Also
organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and operated for fifteen years at
Attenborough, has been the Common Bird Census, a mapping technique for
monitoring population dynamics.
Various interested parties contribute to the management of the SSSI, from statutory
agencies and local government, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Nottingham
Anglers Association to the site owners RMC Aggregates Ltd. Work has consisted of
conservation work parties, management for angling, litter clearances, footpath
maintenance and grazing.
Key Species
Attenborough is best known for its birds. The area is an important site for winter
wildfowl and often holds a high proportion of the county's shoveler and diving ducks,
with larger numbers of mallard, teal, and occasionally wigeon. Scarcer wildfowl such
as sawbills and sea ducks are recorded regularly and cormorants are common. The
wintering population of bittern (Botaurus stellaris) of 1-2 birds is also of considerable
interest, given that 27 birds were recorded in the country in 1996-7 and only 14 birds
were reported on only 8 UK sites in the 1997/8 Wetlands Birds Count. All the British
grebes have been recorded. In the spring and autumn, many migrants birds pass
through and the Delta area attracts a wide range of waders in small numbers
including the iconic bittern. In the summer, the breeding birds include great crested
grebe, shelduck, little ringed plover and common tern. A substantial population of
reed and sedge warblers, and some rarer species such as grasshopper warbler, may
also be present. In addition, the site has major potential to attract passage birds. One
example is a breeding record of black tern in 1976.
As well as discovering the birdlife of Attenborough, lots of other wildlife can be found
on the reserve. In the spring and summer the reserve is a hive of activity with
butterflies visiting the many wildflowers and dragonflies and damselflies hunting and
patrolling the water’s edge. Foxes, voles, shrews, harvest mice, otters and bats also
make their home here in the reserve.
Two national flora rarities occur on the site, the Slender marsh bedstraw (Galium
constrictum) (confirmed by the BSBI recorder for Nottinghamshire, Mr. D. Woods)
and the short-leaved water starwort (Callitriche truncata). Two county rare plants
occur, slender tufted sedge (Carex acuta) and yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia
vulgaris), both occurring in fewer than 10 sites in the county. Extensive areas of
Phragmites swamp are restricted in the county to only a few sites, including
Key Resources Available
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
1970s Attenborough reserve booklets from Cathy Melia (NWT)
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Rainworth Heath\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Beacon Hill Conservation Park
Name: Beacon Hill
Location: Newark
Size: 20 hectares
Date Acquired: 2001
Tenure: Freehold
Habitat Type: Grassland
Key Species: Haworth’s pug, wild clematis and
History of the Site
The Gypsum mining industry in Newark is referred to in as early as 1794 when the
mineral could be bought for 9d per square yard and in the middle of the 19th Century
when the town’s most enduring connection with the industry – the firm of Cafferata
and Co – was established.
Mr. William Cafferata had made a considerable fortune on the Liverpool stock
exchange and began looking for a company in which to invest. In 1858, he settled on
a small concern near Newark owned by the Newark Plaster Company engaged with
getting gypsum from a small quarry at Beacon Hill. They also made bricks and
boilers for steam engines.
Once installed at Newark, Mr Cafferata quickly saw it was the growing plaster trade
where he could most wisely invest his time and money. Cafferata continued
producing boilers and one is known to have been in operation at the company’s old
mill in Newark as late as 1920.Once in control of the works, Mr Cafferata set about
enlarging and extending the gypsum operation. At this time the getting of gypsum at
Beacon Hill was a precarious affair.
While some seams were continuous and small enough to be excavated, others were
in the form of solid masses which had to be blasted. Using footholds in the quarry
face, workmen would climb up as far as they dared and drill a hole with a chisel. A tot
of blasting powder was inserted, tamped down with clay and finally primed with a
straw fuse. No accident rate was recorded, although one would suspect it was not
Gypsum rock was purified by baking in 12 large ovens raised to red heat. Mr
Cafferata inherited and promoted this process for almost 30 years until his son, Mr
Redmond Parker Cafferata, succeeded him in the business in 1881. With Beacon Hill
supplies showing signs of running out, he leased a quarry at Hawton and expanded
the operation. Competition and complaints of variable quality led to decline later
arrested by Mr Redmond Cafferata’s son, Mr Gerald Cafferata, until British Gypsum
took a controlling interest in 1936. Today BPB Formula has a major presence here.
The reserve was owned by British Gypsum but the freehold was passed into
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s ownership in 2001 as part of a section 106 planning
agreement. Part of the park was formerly used as gypsum workings and
subsequently as a landfill site. This area was capped in 1983 and now forms the wild
flower meadow part of the Beacon Hill Conservation Park. In addition, British
Gypsum gave the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust £800,000 for the future
management of the reserve!
Site Description
Beacon Hill Conservation Park is the Trust’s largest urban reserve. It covers
approximately 20 hectares and Park lies to the north east of Newark town centre and
is bordered by the Beacon Fields residential area and industrial areas.
The site covers an area of 19.4 hectares and has an extensive network of habitats of
significant wildlife value including scrub, woodland, hedgerows, grassland, wild flower
meadow, a pond, wet woodland and a small mount of reedbed. A considerable
amount of tree planting has been undertaken using a mix of oak, ash, wych elm,
hazel and a variety of other shrubs. The area chosen for tree planting was first
seeded with a wildflower mix which will enhance the wildlife value of the site whilst
the new woodland matures.
Site Management
Much of the initial management involved considerable amounts of fencing, the
creation of access points and a cycle track. This was done as part of the work to
involve the local residents in the reserve and management.
Future management will be aimed at increasing the biodiversity of the site.
Improvement of the grassland areas will be achieved by the introduction of an annual
hay cutting regime.
The Park has areas of meadow, scrub and woodland and is managed to increase its
wildlife value and to enable people to visit and enjoy the site. To enhance the existing
woodland three and a half hectares of land has been planted with new trees. A cycle
and pedestrian track has been constructed linking Beacon Hill Road to Jessop Close.
Key Species
There is still some survey work to be done to gain a better understanding of the
species present on the reserve, however, there are two notable moths found on the
reserve; the fern, and the Haworth’s pug. These are rare in Nottinghamshire and are
dependent on clematis growing in the wooded gully. With the new planting being
undertaken and future management work the site will become more attractive to a
host of species over the next few years. The meadows already support various
butterfly and bird species. The wildlife of the site includes interesting plants such as,
broomrape and fern grass. .
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation
(archive edition)
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – 2000: Hard copy in the draws at TORS
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – John McMeeking July 2013 and Martin Suthers August
Beeston Sidings
Name: Beeston Sidings
Location: Beeston
Size: 5.5 hectares
Designation: LNR, SINC
Date Acquired: 2010
Tenure: Leasehold
Habitat Type: Grassland
Key Species: Slow-worms, groundbug, field vole and
green woodpecker.
History of the Site
Beeston Sidings is one of the largest post industrial sites remaining within the City of
Nottingham. Originally a railway marshalling yard, Beeston Sidings was abandoned
in the 1950s and fell into disuse over a period of years. Formally 9 hectares, the site
was divided into two sections in 1989/1990 and 5 hectares in the centre of the
sidings was converted into sports field for recreational use, dividing the remaining
land into two sections connected by a strip of semi-natural woodland along Pasture
Lane Brook. The remainder of the site was left as an informal green space to
encourage wildlife to the area.
Historical records however go back long before this. Records indicate that Dunkirk
Pond was excavated in the 1830s to provide material for the construction of sidings
and old maps show Pastures Lane Boundary as an important civil boundary going as
far back as 1879.
The site is now owned by Nottingham City Council and is managed by
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust under a 4-year SLA signed in October 2010. The
playing fields between the two main sections of the site are also owned by
Nottingham City Council. Those to the north, and used for access to the western
section, are owned by the University of Nottingham.
Site Description
Beeston Sidings Local Nature Reserve is located 4 miles south of the city centre and
plays a key role to Nottingham's environment, proving a wildlife heaven in an urban
environment. The site covers 5.5 hectares and comprises of a former railway sidings
and Pasture Lane Brook, a stream that flows into Dunkirk Pond and which was once
a ballast pit. With its mixture of open water and Grassland, Beeston Sidings
accommodates a variety of habitats that encourages a diverse range of plants and
animal communities.
Designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), Beeston Sidings
is described as: ‘Two remnants of a once extensive system of railway sidings with an
uncommon but characteristic tall herb community’. The reserve has been recognised
as having a high nature conservation value to the City. From unusual trees and
shrubs, a variety of birds and fish and a number of fascinating mammals including
foxes, field voles and the common shrew, visitors to Beeston Sidings have the
opportunity to see a diverse range of both flora and fauna, some of which are
nationally rare species.
Site Management
Although the railway sidings were abandoned relatively recently, a diverse flora has
developed including a number of species that were rare in the city and the county.
However, both the botanical diversity and the rarer species are under threat from the
spread of scrub across the site, particularly in the western section, where the
processes of natural succession have not been adequately controlled by
The site has been managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust since late 2010. It
received little management prior to that although some coppicing, tree-felling,
brushcutting and path cutting was carried out in 2009. Issues with access, particularly
to the western section, were partly responsible for this. Access across the University
of Nottingham’s playing fields was negotiated in the winter of 2010/11. Work carried
out since then includes grass cutting and scrub removal, cutting back bramble and
opening up glades, and ditch clearance.
Management goals focus on the maintenance and enhancement of habitats, maintain
and were possible increase populations of key species. Monitor the effects of
management on the reserve and promote community engagement.
Key Species
The invertebrate fauna is very diverse on the nature reserve. A survey in 2005 by
East Midlands Ecological Consultants (EMEC), recorded 237 invertebrate species, a
considerable number of which had not been recorded previously, and included 5
species of interest: a groundbug (Stictopleurus punctatonervosus) regarded as
extinct in Britain until 1997, three nationally scarce flies and another fly only added to
the British list in 2001
A variety of common mammals have been recorded on the reserve including; fox
(Vulpes vulpes), stoat (Mustela erminea), weasel (Mustela nivalis), grey squirrel
(Sciurus carolinensis), rabbit (Oryctolagus cumiculus), brown rat (Rattus norvegicus),
wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), field vole (Microtus agrestis) and common
shrew (Sorex araneus). There are numerous rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) holes in
the earth and rubble mounds along the southern path edge of the western section.
Reptiles and ampibians have also been recorded on the reserve such as slowworms, smooth newts, common frogs and common toads.
The woodland and scrub support a range of common woodland and garden bird
species and Dunkirk Pond the common waterfowl but also green woodpecker (Picus
viridis) and little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) which are both on the RSPB Amber
List of birds of conservation concern have been recorded. Wetland species such as
reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), grey heron (Ardea cinerea), kingfisher
(Alcedo atthis), and reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), have been recorded in the
marginal waters and willows around Dunkirk Pond. The reed bunting is included on
the RSPB Amber List. The kingfisher is included in Annex I of the EC Birds Directive
due to its unfavourable conservation status within Europe and fully protected under
Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and
sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) have been observed hunting at the western end of the
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation
(archive edition)
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2012 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Beeston Sidings\Management Plan
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – Martin Suthers, August 2013
Bentinck Banks
Name: Bentinck Banks
Location: Kirkby in Ashfield
Size: 5.03 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1985
Tenure: Lease and freehold
Habitat Type: Disused railway and embankments
Key Species: Spring sedge, hoary ragwort, harebell,
and frog orchids
History of the Site
Bentinck Banks nature reserve has a rich history and has been dissected over nearly
two centuries by more than nine different railway tracks. The first track ran through
the big triangle area of the reserve in 1819, which was a horse drawn tram. In 1849,
it was converted to a locomotive track. The track at that point had some corners
which were too tights for a locomotive train, therefore the track was altered and
The early and mid 1890s saw the opening of two collieries in the area; Bentinck and
Kirkby Summit. This caused a number of railway companies to build, alter and then
dismantle many railway systems which ran across the area, giving rise to the various
railway cuttings and embankments that can still be seen today. As well as railway
lines to transport coal to and from the mines, some lines were built as passenger
railways. In 1890, the Great Central Main line from Manchester to Paris ran through
both Penny Daisy and Dumble bank on the reserve. In 1966, the old main line which
ran through Dumble Bank was one of only three railway systems that went to
It is believed that the various railways lines were abandoned and dismantled in the
1960s-70s. Only two lines now remain; part of the original track which runs between
Portland Park and Bentinck Banks nature reserve and the Robin Hood passenger
line which runs just outside Penny Daisy Bank. David Amos from Ashfield District
Council recalls as a boy spending much of his time on Bentinck Banks railway
systems train spotting and when he was lucky, him and his friend were allowed to
help pull the levers down in the signal box!
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) was granted a 21 year lease for most of
Dumble Bank and Penny Daisy Bank on Bentinck Bank nature reserve by
Nottinghamshire County Council on 01 June 1990. All other parts of the reserve
were sold freehold to NWT by British Coal Corporation on 08th April 1992. The
southern end of the Big Triangle is crossed by an East Midlands Electricity way
Site Description
The reserve is split into three compartments due to the tenure, Penny daisy Bank,
Dumble Bank and the Triangles. Located 1km south of Kirkby in Ashfield in
Nottinghamshire, the reserve boosts 5 hectares of natural calcareous grassland
along a series of dismantled railway lies, their subsequent embankments and scrub
The site is special as it supports nationally rare Magnesian Limestone grassland
habitat and several plant species that are uncommon in a county context, for
example frog orchid and fragrant orchid. Bentinck Banks is part of the larger area of
Kirkby Grives SSSI which gained its designation in 1982. In addition, there are also
two Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) which applies to the
reserve, covering the whole reserve and other adjacent land.
The reserve is an integral part of the districts landscape features and is a small piece
of nature within a fairly urban environment. Additionally, Bentinck Banks is well set
within the local communities and is well used for recreational purposes such as
walking and bird watching. For the more focused of interests botanists and general
naturalists can find much of interest throughout the site.
Site Management
The sites three compartments had suffered a period of neglect and extensive work
had to be done to rescue the important habitats and their wildlife. The conservation
and enhancement of the important limestone grassland habitat is a priority at
Bentinck Banks. At present management tasks to achieve this include; a combination
of annual mowing, grazing of a small flock of hebridean sheep and selective removal
of scrub. As the area is well used by the local community the paths, steps and stiles
are also maintained to allow continued enjoyment of the reserve by visitors. Grazing
only takes place on Dumble bank between (months) for now.
Further work on site has included scrub and selective tree removal on penny daisy
bank to promote growth and restoration of species rich and limestone grasslands
habitats, in accordance with local and national Biodiversity Action Plans (BAP) as
priority habitats. However, this did cause concern with some local residents. Concern
was raised over the removal of potential habitats such as trees and scrub. Although,
this was soon resolved with some correspondence from the Trusts estate team. Due
to changes in agriculture and development the area of species rich grassland has
decreased by 98% since 1937, therefore, some scrub removal for the benefit of
grassland restoration was decided as being the best method of management. The
majority of management on the reserve is kindly funded by English Nature's Reserve
Enhancement Scheme, Higher Level Stewardship (ES) with Natural England and the
Heritage Lottery Fund.
Key Species
The rarity of the site is demonstrated within the fine examples of calcareous
grassland found on site. These are characterised by such species as greater
knapweed, burnet saxifrage, St. John’s wort, and cowslip. In addition, there is a
variety of orchid species, some of which are rare in the county. The dry slopes of
some of the embankments support such chalk grassland species as tor grass, yellow
wort and quaking grass. Other grassland areas on the site tend to be more neutral in
character and the nature of the soils of the old track-beds support such ruderal
species as rosebay willowherb, ox-eye daisy and silverweed.
A one-day invertebrate survey of Bentinck Banks recorded 1 nationally scarce fly and
26 other types of invertebrate which are considered to be local in their national
distribution (Kirby, 2000). The diverse hoverfly fauna of the Portland Park and
Bentinck Banks complex includes 4 nationally notable species, and 19 which are
either nationally local, or nationally common but occurring at 5 or less sites in
Future Aspirations
Future aspirations for the site revolve around the monitoring and species and
continued management in line with Natural England guidelines for managing a SSSI.
Bentinck banks is one of the reserves focused on in the long term butterfly monitoring
programme with the Trust. In addition, recently a reptile study on Dumble bank has
been initiated to gain insights into presence and abundance of species.
Key Resources Available
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Bentinck Banks\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews –
Name: Besthorpe
Location: Besthorpe
Size: 68 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1999
Tenure: Lease hold
Habitat Type: Wetland
Key Species: Fragrant evening-primrose, southern
marsh orchid, grey heron and lapwing.
History of the Site
Besthorpe nature reserve provides a chance to escape the pace of everyday life and
relax in tranquil surroundings. Over the years, Besthorpe has been transformed from
a series of old gravel pits into a fabulous haven for wildlife.
During the last Ice Age, bedrock was broken down and as ice melted layers of sand
and gravel built up along rivers and streams. This happened extensively along the
River Trent; consequently, the Trent Valley has some of the richest and extensive
gravel deposits in the East Midlands. For this reason during the 1970s, the Meering
Old Works and Mons Pool at Besthorpe were major gravel extraction sites. Although,
initially the works destroyed farmland, meadow and marshland, the after care
provided an opportunity to create a new reserve managed specifically for wildlife. As
a result of this opportunity, Besthorpe came to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in a
phased acquisition from Redland Aggregates Ltd, the quarry company. The entire
site used to be owned by Redland Aggregates Ltd, with whom Nottinghamshire
Wildlife Trust signed an 'Agreement for Lease' on 24 April 1995, committing Redland
and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to sign a 99-year lease once restoration was
In October 1999, the Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke QC, MP accepted the leases
for 68 hectares of the Besthorpe reserve from the aggregate producer Lafarge
Redland. The handover provided Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust with an opportunity
to highlight just what can be achieved through conservation organisations working in
partnership with industry. When the then Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chairman
Graham Leigh-Browne attended the ceremonial handing over of the deeds he noted
three things; firstly, how the projects success was down to volunteer efforts of people
like John McMeeking and Jenny Kent and secondly how well the Trust’s staff not only
deal with nature conversation and event organising. Thirdly and most importantly, he
reflected on how the new Besthorpe Reserve was before the gravel extraction, an
ordinary area of the Trent Valley farmland. He stated that “the Trust recognises the
value of all habitats in the County and is not concerned only with SSSI’s, SINC’s and
Since that day the reserve has undergone some major changes and is once again a
flourishing reserve for both people and wildlife.
Site Description
The reserve lies in the Trent floodplain between the River Trent and the village of
Besthorpe in east Nottinghamshire. It consists of two separate areas totaling around
68 hectares which are separated by Trent Lane. Besthorpe North supports three
distinct habitats: open water with islands, reed-beds and shingle. The reedbeds boast
a variety of breeding birds including reed and sedge warblers. To the north-west of
the reedbeds is an open water pit which supports an array of waterfowl at all times of
year. The area of bare gravel between the river bank, the open water pit and the
reedbeds has interesting flora including common cudweed and kidney vetch. On a
sunny day this area can be an excellent site for butterflies, including brown argus.
Little ringed plover has bred in this area for many years.
Besthorpe South comprises of another area of old gravel workings and two traditional
Trent Valley wildflower meadows, which are designated as a Site of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI). The meadows cover just over 9 hectares in size of unimproved
grassland with species such as; Yorkshire fog, great burnet, lady’s bedstraw,
common knapweed, meadow vetchling and pepper saxifrage. An old borrow pit
fringed by willows contains an interesting aquatic flora including spiked water milfoil
and common water crowfoot. Mons Pool lies just to the south of the meadows,
containing an unusual inland colony of nesting cormorants and an ancient heronry.
Monitoring and data collection on the young herons has been carried out by the
North Nottinghamshire Ringing group for many years. There was great concern when
it was found that many were dying because of brittle bones. Determined work by the
group and the Environment Agency eventually located the cause as pollution which
has subsequently been stopped.
All the non-SSSI land on the reserve has Site of Importance for Nature Conservation
(SINC) status.
Site Management
Management of this reserve has posed some challenges and was essentially a blank
canvas for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to work with.
The restoration of what was once the largest reed-bed in the county is a major piece
of work. Following the closure of the gravel extraction works the reedbed suffered
from drying out and became a different habitat. The project involved developing an
ambitious water management system to maintain the habitat for the future and
provide an important new mosaic of wetland habitats, including both raised dry reedbeds and lower wet reed-beds.
Numerous other management projects and tasks that have been undertaken include;
opening up orchid areas, maintenance of the open shingle and gravel areas for little
ringed plover and other birds and on-going maintenance of the paths, boardwalk and
viewing hides. A traditional management method has been employed for the
meadows to maintain the diversity of wild flowers and grasses. The meadows are
cut for hay in late summer, followed by a period of ‘aftermath grazing’ by a flock of
Hebridean sheep. In the early 2000s the sheep had become stranded on the highest
part of the reserve due to extensive flooding. Subsequently, this led to a waterborne
rescue operation which lasted well into the night. Following appeals on local radio
and through the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts members in the area, local
residents, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust staff, local farmers, Fire and Rescue teams
and the RSPCA all worked together, ferrying the sheep to safety using motor boats
and floating rafts. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust was caught out by the speed
and scale of the flooding and by the time the last sheep was off, the whole of the
reserve and the surrounding farmland was under about three feet of water.
Unfortunately, Besthorpe has suffered from vandalism and abuse of the bird hides,
vandalism of fencing, unauthorised fishing, sheep worrying and disturbance to wildlife
by dogs not kept under close control. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is working
to find solutions to these problems but with local support we are sure we will
Key Species
The reserve boasts many bird species such as lapwing, long-tailed tit, great crested
grebe, widgeon, harriers and tufted duck. The meadows are a hive of activity in the
summer months with wildflowers and insects. The size of some individual species'
populations is also of note, particularly fragrant evening-primrose, southern marsh
orchid, grey heron, cormorant, reed warbler and sand martin.
In 2013, the first pair of breeding little egrets was recorded on site which is a very
exciting addition to the bird life on the reserve.
Future Aspirations
There are a number of biodiversity enhancing projects happening in the Trent Valley
area surrounding the reserve such as the restoration of the active quarry site and the
creation of a new RSPB reserve. Over the coming years Besthorpe will evolve and
become part of around 200 hectares of continuous habitat enabling wildlife to move
freely around the area.
Besthorpe Nature Reserve itself is still evolving, and in the coming years the settling
lagoons in the north-east of The Old Works will be restored to a more natural open
water habitat, and work will be carried out to prolong the life of the reedbed which
has been left high and dry now that litres of silt washings are no longer poured onto
it. In addition, an access review will be carried out that will lead to better access and
links between the various parts of the nature reserve.
A further 100 hectares or so of restored gravel pits to the south of Mons Pool will be
added to the reserve between 2015 and 2020, when further extraction has been
completed. All in all, an exciting time for the reserve, wildlife, and the local
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2010 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Besthorpe\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – Norman Lewis and Martin Suthers, August 2013
Brecks Plantation and Glapton Wood
Name: Brecks Plantation and Glapton Wood
Location: Clifton
Size: 3.7 hectares and 4 hectares
Designation: N/A
Date Acquired: 1987 and 2010
Tenure: service level agreement
Habitat Type: Woodland
Key Species: Pedunculate oak, dunnock,
sparrowhawk and small skipper.
History of the Site
Breck's Plantation is mixed woodland, 3.7 hectares in size which is a good size for an
urban green space within the city. The plantation was established between 1887 and
1914. The eastern compartment was planted some time between 1887 and 1901, as
mixed woodland, and the western compartment was planted with coniferous trees
between 1902 and 1914. The hybrid black poplar were originally planted in the 1950s
as matchstick timber but were not used for this and approximately 80 were felled in
1994 as they had become diseased and were in a dangerous condition.
The reserve is owned by Nottingham City Council and managed by Nottinghamshire
Wildlife Trust under a service level agreement. The agreement was initially signed in
September 2010 for a three year period which has now been extended.
Glapton Wood is thought to be a remnant of the old Clifton Woods, which were
mostly cleared during the late 1950s to make way for the construction of the Clifton
Housing Estate. Examination of old maps including Sanderson’s map of 1835 and
Ordnance survey maps from 1875 onwards do not support this and show that the
wood was roughly the same size as it is today. The surrounding land was divided
into fields and presumably used for agriculture. Maps from 1887 show the smaller
plantation to the north of the present Whitegate school.
Glapton Wood is owned by Nottingham City Council but has been managed by
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust since 1987. The current agreement was also signed
in September 2010 for a three year period which has now been renewed.
Site Description
Although Breck’s Plantation mostly a plantation woodland, the reserve provides
valuable habitat for wildlife and offers local residents an opportunity to experience
nature right on their doorstep. As a consequence of its artificial origins, the woodland
is made up of small stands of oak, ash, sycamore, larch and Norway spruce. In 1994,
approximately 80 hybrid black poplars were felled because they were diseased and
dangerous. These trees were originally planted as matchstick timber in the 1950s.
The area has since been re-planted with oak, ash, rowan and silver birch. Other trees
such as elder, blackthorn and birch are also common.
A mixed hawthorn and hazel hedge marks the southern boundary and a hawthorn
hedge the western boundary. The woodland is a valuable area for the range of
common plants and animals and is popular with local residents. The ground flora is
dominated by tall herbs such as nettles and rosebay willow herb, with open areas of
grassland and thickets of bramble. A number of common woodland birds can be
seen including all three species of woodpecker, spotted flycatcher, treecreeper,
greenfinch and fieldfare. Wood mice and a number of butterflies and other
invertebrates can also be seen.
Today, the reserve is used as community woodland by local residents; it is crossed
by many paths and there is a small playground adjacent to the north edge of the
eastern compartment. There are two SSSI within 2km of the reserve, Holme Pit
1.8km to the northwest and Willwell Cutting 1.8km to the northeast. Both of these
sites are managed as nature reserves by NWT. There are several SINCs and Local
Nature Reserves within 2km including Clifton Grove, Clifton Woods and Holme Pit
Pond 1.3km to the northwest, Rushcliffe Country Park 1.8km southeast, Glapton
Wood 200m northwest and Fairham Brook 200m southwest. With the exception of
Rushcliffe Country Park all are all managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Glapton Wood Nature Reserve is situated at the southern extremity of the City of
Nottingham, within the ward of Clifton South. It is bordered on the north by
Whitegate Primary School and on all other sides by housing. It is part of a wider
network of NWT reserves in Clifton and within the NWT City Living Landscape area.
The reserve covers almost 4 hectares and provides valuable habitat for wildlife and
offers local residents an opportunity to experience nature right on their doorstep. The
reserve is situated on Mercia Mudstones and dominated by oak standards with an
understorey of predominantly elder and hawthorn. Other tree and shrub species
include ash, Scots pine, sycamore and hazel. The ground flora includes bramble and
rosebay willowherb. A number of birds can be seen in the wood including great
spotted woodpecker, goldcrest, spotted flycatcher and pied wagtail. Whilst many
dangerous trees have been felled a number of dead ones have been left as valuable
habitat for insects and fungi.
Situated on the southern edge of the site is an interesting area of grassland, which
supports a number of herbs and grasses including false oat grass, Yorkshire fog
grass, agrimony, and black knapweed and ox-eye daisy.
Glapton Wood is one of 10 sites in recipient of investment from the Wildlife in the City
project between 2010 an 2013, funded by the Access to Nature fund from the Big
Lottery. This has focussed on community engagement activity but has also led to
investment in the site such as the surfacing of the main path.
Site Management
As with most of the woodlands in the city, rubbish dumping is a constant problem.
Management objectives include maintaining the site as a valuable amenity and
educational resource for the local community, whilst enhancing the woodland’s value
for wildlife. The management priorities at this site are to maintain the re-stocked
poplar area, and reduce fly tipping. Other tasks include the installation and
maintenance of nest boxes, selective tree removal and re-planting with a range of
native tree and shrub species.
Glapton Wood management objectives include enhancement of the woodland
structure through selective felling, coppicing and replanting. The grassland is cut
annually in late summer and a number of wildflowers have been introduced in
selected areas. Damage resulting from vandalism and general visitor pressure is a
constant problem and people are encouraged to follow the paths provided. The
management of the site is supported by The Boots Company, through the Trust’s
Wildlife Guardians Scheme. This support will enable the Trust to carry out a wide
range of on site improvements and to establish closer links with the local community.
Key Species
Brecks plantation is mostly enclosed by a loose hawthorn and elder hedge. Within
the wood there is a mixture of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), European ash
(Fraxinus excelsior), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), larch (Larix sp.), Norway
spruce Picea abies, silver birch (Betula pendula), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and
elder (Sambucus nigra).
Both compartments provide valuable breeding habitat for common woodland birds
including blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit and dunnock. Great-spotted Woodpecker
regularly breed as shown by the many holes in the trees, especially in the west
compartment, and sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus bred in the east compartment in
2012. The grassy area is species poor and dominated by coarse grasses. It does
however support some invertebrate interest with some common grassland butterfly
species breeding including meadow brown (Maniola jurtina), gatekeeper (Pyronia
tithonus), ringlet and small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Approximately 80% of Glapton Wood is covered by the woodland and is a mixture of
oak Quercus petraea and Q.robur, Scot’s pine Pinus sylvestris, European larch Larix
decidua and ash Fraxinus excelsior. Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus is also present
on the reserve although it does not dominate with only a few large specimens. There
is some beech Fagus sylvatica with a particularly fine specimen at the west end next
to the north path. The understorey is species poor but includes elder Sambucus
nigra, hazel Corylus avellana, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and bramble Rubus
fruticosa. The grassland area at the top of the hill supports a neutral grassland which
has been partially colonized by wild cherry Prunus avium, elm Ulmus minor and ash.
There are also extensive areas of bramble on the southern boundary. The previous
management plan states that the western section of the grassland was re-seeded
with a wildflower mix in the 1990’s but did not thrive due to lack of management.
Although dominated by coarse grasses wildflowers are obvious in the summer and
include meadow crane's-bill (Geranium pretense), greater knapweed (Centaurea
scabiosa), field (scabious Knautia arvensis) and cowslip (Primula veris).
There are few records of other fauna except for seven species of butterfly and three
dragonfly. The only mammal species recorded are grey squirrel (Sciurus
carolinensis) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes).
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation
(archive edition)
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2009 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Treswell\Management plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information and
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – John McMeeking July 2013
Bunny Old Wood (West)
Name: Bunny Old Wood (West)
Location: Bunny, Rushcliffe
Size: 16 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1985
Tenure: Freehold
Habitat Type: Ancient Woodland
Key Species: Wych elm, bluebell, great spotted wood
pecker and white-letter hairstreak butterfly.
History of the Site
Bunny Old Wood (West) is a wonderful ancient coppiced woodland covering almost
16 hectares, located to the south of the village of Bunny, in the district of Rushcliffe,
The reserve is documented throughout history. It is thought to have been used by
Saxon settlers as a source of timber. Bunny Old Wood is referred to in the Domesday
Book as being amongst the lands of Ralph FitzHerbert having “underwood 10
furlongs in length and 1 in breadth”, which are almost the exact dimensions of the
woodland today. Additionally, in 1487 Henry VII and his army is recorded to have
camped very nearby on their way to the Battle of East Stoke. Evidence of the history
of the woodland is demonstrated within its sinuous shape, ancient ditches along the
northern and southern edges and a parish boundary to the south side of the wood.
The size of the old coppice stools also provides an indication of the wood’s age. This
site in particular is thought to be one of the oldest natural features in South
In 1984 the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust launched a large scale wildlife appeal to
raise funds and awareness for the future of the Trust and its reserves. This was
backed by great support from Radio Nottingham. In 1985 the wood part of Bunny Old
Wood was generously donated to the Trust by one of the biggest industries in South
Nottinghamshire, British Gypsum Ltd. This industrial concern was testament to
impact the appeal had had on the county which was of great encouragement.
Site Description
The wood is situated on a steep north-facing slope with coppiced wych elm being the
most abundant species. Coppiced ash is also common and field maple is
widespread. Additionally, there are standards of oak and cherry and wild crab apple
occurring along the southern boundary. The understory contains regenerating
coppiced wych elm, young ash, elder and hawthorn. In more open areas, bramble
and nettle often dominate and there is also abundant dog’s mercury and bluebell.
Other flowering plants include wood anemone, stitchwort and barren strawberry.
The visual appeal of the site is high, due to the combination of fairly dense woodland
and more open coppiced areas with prominent displays of spring flowers. The site is
popular with local residents who use the rides, public footpath and public bridleway
within the wood. In addition the wood is crossed by the 'Midshires Way' Long
Distance Footpath which is mentioned in several guidebooks bringing in hiking and
other tourists to the area. Furthermore, the landscape is of local importance as it is
on a prominent scarp slope visible from miles around.
Bunny Old Wood is also very popular with local natural historians who are actively
engaged in long-term studies of the flora and fauna found in Bunny Old Wood.
Additionally, it is also used as an educational resource by schools, colleges and
Site Management
The entire wood was thought to have been cleared felled for the last time in 1930.
However, evidence suggests that some of the previous coppice stools are more than
1000 years old. The current management plan is based on the 2004 plan which
originated in a document produced by the Bunny Wood Management Committee.
The Trust is working to restore traditional coppice management, to minimise losses
through Dutch elm disease and to conserve the diverse flora and fauna.
Management includes cutting parts of the wood on a 15-20 year cycle, removing
dead and dying wych elms, and maintenance of rides and boundaries. Much of the
produce is sold for firewood but some is left standing, lying, or in habitat piles to
encourage fungi, invertebrates and other fauna. After many years of neglect, and
having been cleared felled a number of times there has been much work to do on site
to restore it to its former glory. Wildlife Trust members, scout groups, university
students and government training schemes have put amazing amounts of time and
effort into the restoration and management of the special woodland.
Key Species
Compared to other the woodlands in the county, Bunny Old Wood is not botanically
diverse; however, it is fairly typical of lowland elm woods in England. In spite of this,
the reserve does support a number of plants that are of restricted distribution in south
Nottinghamshire; such as guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), yellow archangel
(Lamiastrum galeobdolon), dog's mercury, wood anemone, bluebell, sanicle
(Sanicula europaea), goldilocks (Ranunculus auricomus), greater stitchwort (Stellaria
holostea) and primrose (Primula vulgaris). Many of these species are also regarded
as ancient woodland indicators. The fauna on site however has a good range of
biodiversity. Fifty species of birds have been recorded, including year-round
residents such as great spotted woodpecker, tawny owl, woodcock, long-tailed tit and
tree creeper. Winter visitors include redwing and fieldfare, while breeding summer
visitors are represented by whitethroat, garden warbler and blackcap. Over 500
species of invertebrates have been recorded including uncommon or rare taxa, such
as; carabid beetle (Badister sodalist), orange footman, White-letter hairstreak
(Strymonidia w-album) and nationally notable hoverflies Platycheirus tarsalis,
Ferdinardea. Group totals include over 143 species of moth, 52 types of spider, 22
butterflies and 51 hoverfly species. Other animals recorded on site include fox, grey
squirrel and grass snake.
Future Aspirations
Although the wood has changed dramatically since the acquisition in 1985, there are
still further aims and objectives for the management of the woodland. Coppice
rotation is a fantastic way of providing a sustainable source of wood products, as the
woodland was traditionally managed in this way one of the future aims is to reintroduce a full coppice rotation. A prime example of another reserve owned by the
Trust where this transformation has taken place is Dukes Wood. In addition to
traditional woodland management methods, further monitoring and recording of
species on site is to take place. The Wildlife Trust currently encourages the public
help and support this by providing recording documents on site called I-Spy. It is
hoped that in the near future this will become a reason for people to visit the site.
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust written by Neil
Hunter, 1995 (archive edition)
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual reserves\Bunny
Wood\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Calverton Road
Name: Calverton Road
Location: Calverton
Size: 2.8 hectares
Date Acquired:
Tenure: Lease Hold
Habitat Type: Grassland and Woodland
Key Species:
History of the Site
Calverton Road nature reserve was once a domestic rubbish tip. Following its closure
as a tip the site was capped and landscaped and over the years many hundreds of
trees have been planted and new areas of grassland have been created.
The reserve is now owned by Gedling Borough Council and licensed to the
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for its management.
Site Description
Calverton Road Nature Reserve is in the District of Gedling alongside the Calverton
Road between Arnold and Dorket Head. The 2.8 hectare nature reserve is a
reclaimed domestic tip site with a south to southeast aspect with banks to the
southern and western boundaries. Since the reserve is a reclaimed refuse tip, the
majority of the trees and the grassland are the result of the restoration process.
However, there are a number of mature trees in the southwest corner including lime
and hawthorn whilst a number of sycamore trees can be found in the northeast
corner. The plantation consists of a mixture of alder, rowan, whitebeam, field maple,
red oak and a small number of sycamores. The roadside hedge contains a mixture of
species including hawthorn, ash, field maple, buckthorn and crab apple. Wild
clematis (old man’s beard) grows in the hedgerow. The grassland is species poor but
over 70 species of plant have now been recorded on the site. A footpath has been
created round the reserve allowing good access.
Site Management
Aside from keeping the paths open, the main management activity is to mow the
grassland in summer and remove the cuttings to help improve the diversity of
Key Species
Tree species that have been previously planted include; alder, rowan, whitebeam,
field maple and a small number of sycamores. The roadside hedge contains a
mixture of species including hawthorn, ash, field maple, buckthorn and crab apple.
Wild clematis (old man’s beard) grows in the hedgerow and more than seventy
species of plant, including bee orchid, have been recorded in the grassland.
As the reserve is bordered by open countryside a number of typical farmland birds
such as linnet, wood pigeon and chaffinch can be seen. Grey partridge has been
recorded and kestrels can frequently be seen hovering over the site in search of
food. In summer it is worth looking out for willow warblers and whitethroat. Butterflies
that can be seen on the reserve include; orange tip, small heath and meadow brown.
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews –
Chilwell Meadow
Name: Chilwell Meadow
Location: Chilwell
Size: 1 hectare
Designation: N/A
Date Acquired: 1985
Tenure: Leasehold
Habitat Type: Wet meadow
Key Species: Adders tongue, ragged birds foot trefoil
and common spotted orchid.
History of the Site
Leasehold from the Nottinghamshire Country council since 1985
Site Description
1 hectare Wet meadow.
The meadow situated in the grounds of Chilwell Comprehensive School is 2.5
acres of the last typical water meadow in this part of the Trent Valley. The
importance of the herb-rich site was that it had never been treated with
modern fertilisers and herbicides, i.e. it was “unimproved”. In the 1977
Biological Survey of the County, 1500 grasslands were surveyed and of 115
picked out as being exceptional Chilwell Meadow were included in the top ten.
The site is of particular benefit to the school as an educational area and to
local residents as an area of natural beauty.
Site Management
The management of the area, which will include managing as a hay meadow,
mown only after seeding of the important species have set seed.
Key Species
Adders tongue, ragged bird’s foot trefoil and common spotted orchid.
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Clarborough Tunnel
Name: Clarborough Tunnel
Location: Clarborough
Size: 5 hectares
Designation: SSSI, SINC
Date Acquired: 1971
Tenure: LeaseHold
History of the Site
Clarborough tunnel has been in existence since 1849. The spoil from the building of
the tunnel was discarded on one side of the railway and allowed to colonise naturally.
Gypsum-dominated tunnel spoil is a rare feature in Nottinghamshire and the reserve
is a fantastic example of a rich calcareous grassland which has naturally colonisation
an entirely artificial feature. The grassland an scrub mosaic which has developed
upon it, is typical of high quality calcareous grassland, due to the presence of thin
and infertile soils and the lack of agricultural improvement and development threats.
The reserve has long been regarded as a botanically noteworthy site. In 1971 the
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust acquired this small but interesting site which is leased
from British Rail and forms an oasis of wildlife in an intensely cultivated countryside.
The reserve is owned by Network Rail (formerly Railtrack and British Rail) and was
leased for 99 years to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) for a peppercorn rent in
a document dated 25 November 1991. The actual lease period is from 29
September 1991 to 28 September 2090. Freehold of the reserve was retained by
British Rail because of continuing responsibilities over the shafts in the tunnel roof.
Site Description
The reserve lies in the Bassetlaw District, 1km south-east of the village of
Clarborough, North Nottinghamshire. At 5 hectares in size, the reserve is fairly large,
but the key habitat of calcareous grassland is only a small proportion of this area.
Furthermore, the grassland is fragmented into several small patches over the
Clarborough consists of five sections; an old orchard and garden (now grassed over)
in the east, and four areas of spoil deposited which are now covered with dense
woodland, scrub and grassland. The entire site is largely bounded by hedges. The
grassland is dominated by upright brome (Bromopsis erecta), and tor-grass
(Brachypodium pinnatum), with red fescue (Festuca rubra) and glaucous sedge
(Carex flacca) locally abundant. The sward is herb-rich, containing such
characteristic plants as hoary plantain (Plantago media), cowslip (Primula veris),
bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), wild carrot (Daucus carota), knapweed
(Centaurea nigra), yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata), spiny restharrow (Ononis
spinosa), oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and several species of orchids.
Clarborough Tunnel SSSI was designated as such in under the National Parks and
Access to the Countryside Act in 1972, and then revised under the same legislation
in 1981. The site comprises one of the best examples of calcareous grassland in
Nottinghamshire and is representative of grassland swards developed on calcareous
clay soils in Central and Eastern England.
Site Management
The decline in wildlife value of this habitat in recent years has occurred as soil fertility
builds up and coarse grasses and scrub take over. Therefore, management on the
site now involves periodic scrub clearance, footpath maintenance and boundary
Key Species
The site is of high wildlife value, particularly the calcareous grassland. Due to the
SSSI designation the wildlife interest is significant in a national context. Additionally,
there are several plants that are locally uncommon, such as pyramidal orchid,
ploughman's spikenard, yellow-wort and spiny restharrow.
Insects are well represented, and include good numbers of the commoner butterflies
and moths. In 1972 John Radford discovered a population of the nationally notable
chalk carpet moth, which is both a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and
one East Midlands Regional Action Plan priority moth species. Further moth surveys
in 2000 recorded dark umber and yellow-barred brindle, both nationally local species.
Another species of considerable note is the adder, which has only been recorded at a
hand full of areas in Nottinghamshire.
Future Aspirations
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Clarborough Tunnel\Management Plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews –
Howitt, R. C. L. & Howitt, B. M. (1963) A Flora of Nottinghamshire. Privately
Daneshill Gravel Pits
Name: Daneshill Gravel Pits
Location: Retford
Size: 16 hectares
Designation: SINC, LNR
Date Acquired: 1989
Tenure: Leasehold
Habitat Type: Wetland
Key Species: Willow Warbler, water rail, common
blue butterfly, large red damselfly and bog stitchwort.
History of the Site
Daneshill Gravel Pits was formerly the location of the Royal Ordnance Factory at
Ranskill until the 1970s. Construction of the factory was authorised in 1940 and
production started in 1942. It was a large site including an explosives factory, an
acids plant and private sidings linked to what we now know as the East Coast Main
Line. The factory was closed in 1945, but was retained on a care and maintenance
basis until 1975. After this, the site was broken up and sold. All that remains is some
of the signalling from the sidings adjacent to the railway line.
After the factory was mothballed, gravel extraction on the area commenced. Gravel
extraction ceased by 1968 and the reserve was lest to re-colonise naturally. From
1976 a local school began canoeing, sailing in the lakes and used the site as a
nature study. In 1982, Nottinghamshire County Council purchased the gravel pits
and reclaimed the site, together with the adjacent Royal Ordnance Factory, to
provide land for agriculture, forestry, landfill and amenity. The land is owned by
Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) and is leased to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife
Trust under an agreement dated 29 September 1989. The original rent was £50 a
year, which was raised to £60.20 in October 1994, and then to £71.92 five years
later. At present a Service Level Agreement is being discussed by the owner and the
lessee, and the next rent review is due on 01 October 2004.
Site Description
Daneshill Gravel Pits nature reserve is located in north Nottinghamshire, within the
largely rural District of Bassetlaw, approximately 5km north-west of the outskirts of
Retford. The site is bounded by a railway line to the west and a minor road to the
south. The reserve has excellent access facilities and is open to the public at all
At 16 hectares this is a moderately-sized reserve with a variety of different habitats.
The reserve comprises of two areas; Daneshill North a wetland site and the recently
acquired Daneshill South which is a series of lakes. Although the site supports an
interesting mixture of woodland and grassland types, it is the diversity of wetland
conditions that is the most noteworthy feature. The relatively recent origin of these
habitats has encouraged good numbers of water beetles and aquatic insects to
colonise the clear water and gravelly bottoms, although diversity is expected to
decline as the pools silt up naturally.
Daneshill Gravel Pits nature reserve is part of a statutory Local Nature Reserve
(LNR) designated in 1984-5 by Bassetlaw District Council. The Local Nature Reserve
is officially known as Daneshill Lakes. In addition, the reserve forms part of the 64
hectare Daneshill Nature Reserve Site of Interest for Nature Conservation as it is
described as 'A very rich mosaic of woodland, marsh and aquatic habitats on old
sand and gravel workings of note for both its plant and animal communities.'
Site Management
Daneshill Gravel Pits supports or previously supported a range of species with
somewhat conflicting requirements, for example reptiles that need plenty of cover,
birds requiring both sparse and denser scrub, and certain invertebrates and plants
that flourish only where the sward is very short, sparse and largely scrub-free. Add
to this the needs of aquatic species such as lesser bearded stonewort and various
water beetles, and it is clear that proposals for management need to be carefully
thought through before work begins.
Up to now, management activity has been largely been focuses on the general
upkeep of the path systems and reserve. The footpaths around the reserve have
upgraded, improving access to the reserve. A tree-planting scheme was undertaken
as part of a County Council restoration project. In future the intention is to clear
some of the dense wooded edges of the gravel pit.
Key Species
The site has a range of habitats, including open water, damp willow woodland, drier
woodland and scrub, and rabbit-grazed dry grassland. There is a wide variety of
flowering plants, including wetland species such as bog stitchwort, rigid hornwort,
water figwort, reed canary-grass, water plantain and the non-native New Zealand
pigmyweed. Dry grassland species include sheep’s sorrel, bird’s-foot-trefoil, changing
forget-me-not, common bent, fern-grass and agrimony. Dry woodland and scrub
occurs around the periphery of the site and includes oak, birch, blackthorn, hawthorn,
rowan and gorse, with wood sage and foxglove on sunny edges. Bramble and gorse
attract interesting invertebrates including good numbers of butterflies such as
brimstone, common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper and ringlet. The acid nature of
the soil supports an interesting moss and liverwort community.
Good numbers of willow warbler, whitethroat and blackcap are present in summer,
and in winter siskin, water rail and goldcrest may be seen. A range of wildfowl occurs
outside the breeding season. This is also a good site for damselflies and dragonflies,
and grass snakes are present but rarely seen.
A total of 57 species of water beetle were recorded during 23 May 1998, of which six
are nationally scarce (Kirby, 1998). If records obtained on 18 May 1997 are also
considered, the total rises to 63, ten of them nationally scarce (Merritt, 1997). This is
a very impressive total, and certainly makes the site of considerable significance for
its water beetle fauna. The assemblage of aquatic bugs is also impressive. A further
6 nationally scarce invertebrates have been recorded – 2 terrestrial beetles and 4
flies (see Section 2.2.2 for lists of the most notable species).
Lesser bearded stonewort is the rarest plant in a national context that occurs at
Daneshill Gravel Pits. In Great Britain it is classified as 'near threatened' and
receives general protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
Future Aspirations
Now the acquired land in the South, a newly appointed reserve officer, Aran Atkinson
has a number of aspirations for the future of the reserve. The future management will
firstly focus on surveying the reserve to determine the flora and fauna communities
present to input into habitat management for any key species. In addition,
management straegies will endeavour to enhance the education opportunities on the
reserve with the ideas for pond dipping and woodland workshops.
Key Resources Available
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation
(archive edition)
Reserve leaflet – Published by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (current edition)
Reserve Factsheet – Paper copy in the archive reserve folder
Management Plan – Updated 2008 I:\Estate Management\Individual
reserves\Treswell\Management plan
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website, reserve information:
NWT History Handbook – July 2008 by Ainslie Carruthers
Key Person Interviews – John McMeeking July 2013 and Aran Atkinson August 2013
Nottinghamshire County Council Website:
The AA UK walks website:

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