Conservation Success at Foxcovert Plantation | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Conservation Success at Foxcovert Plantation

Tuesday 20th January

Conservation Success at Foxcovert Plantation


The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust recently completed a Biffa Award funded restoration project at Foxcovert Plantation; helping to restore part of the Sherwood Forest historical landscape. Species found at Foxcovert Nature Reserve near Calverton indicate that the secondary woodland was planted on what would have been one of the most southerly remnants of ancient Sherwood Forest.


Historically, Sherwood Forest would have been made up of large areas of heathland as well as woodland. Heathland is hugely important for some of the UK’s rarest plants and animals, with Nottinghamshire heathlands providing habitat for nationally rare birds such as nightjar and woodlark, as well as many specialised insects and spiders. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is committed to restoring this rare habitat.


“The project at Foxcovert is a great step forward: a chance to acknowledge part of the county’s cultural past and create rare habitat for wildlife. “ – Erin McDaid, Head of Communications and Marketing, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.


The heathland recreation work involved first stripping topsoil to reduce the nutrient levels in the soil, as well as inverting it so that sand was brought to the surface, to further reduce soil fertility; enabling heathland to develop without being out competed by more vigorous grasses. Heather brash was then cut from the spectacular heathers of Strawberry Hill Heath and spread in the stripped areas, being weighed down with tree branches and fenced off to prevent the area being grazed.  


Charles Langtree, Head of Estates at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said “This is the second phase of a restoration project started about 10 years ago.  We have some small areas of heather which have established, but always thought we might need to have a follow up project to establish larger areas. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next few years - often heather can sit dormant for a while before germinating - surprising you when you had begun to think it hadn’t worked!”


As well as the heathland creation the project also included 340m of hedgerow habitat enhancements, including hedge planting and laying by volunteers. New fencing means the site can now also be grazed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s flock of Hebridean sheep; allowing better control of the developing habitats.


Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is committed to protecting and enhancing the remaining areas of Sherwood's forest and heathland and the project at Foxcovert, alongside other work will help restore the fragmented Sherwood Forest habitat as part of the ‘Champions of Sherwood’ campaign: Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's vision for a Living Landscape in Sherwood which will be delivered by restoring, recreating and reconnecting wildlife-rich spaces.

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