This nature reserve covers over 5 hectares and is made up of a series of dismantled railway lines and their embankments. These are now covered with grassland and scrub habitats. The site was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1982 because it supports some of the finest remaining limestone plant communities in Nottinghamshire. It is now part owned and part leased by the Trust.
About the Reserve
The reserve lies in the District of Ashfield less than 1km south of Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The reserve also has fine views over the Erewash Valley, the river flowing from the north east and runs through the centre of the reserve, part of its length being through pipes under the former colliery line embankment. The site contains fine examples of calcareous grassland, 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 (which are reminiscent of the Sussex chalk downs), 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.
The presence of scrub (predominantly hawthorn) along the embankments and the adjacent areas of woodland, encourage a variety of bird species such as finches and thrushes.
For some more pictures of the reserve please go to our flickr set
The conservation and enhancement of important limestone grassland habitat is a priority at Bentinck Banks. This is being achieved by a combination of annual mowing, introduction of grazing in newly fenced areas and selective removal of scrub. Other management includes path maintenance to allow continued quiet enjoyment of the reserve by visitors.
How to Get There
On the south west edge of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, access to the reserve is from the Portland Park car park (SK498552), via the existing footpaths, and from Laburnum Avenue (SK492554), and also by footpath onto Dumble Bank. Entry from the east is via Erewash Street (SK502560) across the railway. For SatNav purposes, use NG17 8RT, NG17 8PZ or NG17 8AN and follow the instructions above.
Why not explore this nearby reserve? Annesley Woodhouse Quarry
If you would like further details about the reserve, or if you are interested in getting involved in the management of the site, please call the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust office on 0115 958 8242.