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Gushing water begins Besthorpe wetland success

Saturday 28th January

Gushing water begins Besthorpe wetland success

Gushing water signalled the final stage of our half a million pound project to restore a major Trent-side nature reserve last week, as millions of litres were transferred from a specially-created lagoon, to a new area of reedbed and ponds - at Besthorpe Nature Reserve near Collingham, Newark.


‘Besthorpe’s Big Makeover’ was our largest ever single restoration project, creating vital new habitats for wildlife in this former quarry area. Months of hard work finally came to fruition as we turned on a ‘tap’ from the Trent.

Special event

At Friday’s (20 January) event, a special sluice gate, installed to control the flow of water between different areas of the nature reserve, was opened for the first time - allowing the water from the lagoon to flow through, and beginning the process of re-wetting the new habitat. In future, the sluice will allow Wildlife Trust to ensure that the reedbed areas, connected by a system of pools and ditches, have sufficient water to thrive.

The transfer of water came as a relief to everyone involved in the ambitious project, after a worrying period of dry weather. Thanks to much-needed rainfall before Christmas, we were granted permission to draw water from the River Trent into a special Buffer Lagoon. Following Friday's event, some of this water has now moved to fill a new network of ponds and reedbeds created on the site which was once the home of the county’s largest reedbed.

Watch a YouTube Video of the gushing water

New habitats

These new habitats will complement those already existing on the reserve, including areas of dry reedbed of high value for scarce moths, the wet woodland and the grassland and open water. The large wetland on the reserve, Mons Pool, has also been reshaped as part of the restoration works, to create islands for birds to breed safe from predatory foxes, to provide an improved sand martin bank, and to establish shallow wetlands to attract waders.


Speaking about the project, Head of Estate Management & Development Charles Langtree said:

“We worked tremendously hard last year to re-landscape the reserve and to create the new habitat areas and it was very worrying to have to wait so long to flood the areas to complete the job. Thankfully the reeds seem to have survived and we now look forward to them becoming well established in the spring. In time these reedbeds will become a sanctuary for a wide range of birds, and potentially for mammals such as the otter and we are really excited about how the reserve will develop in the years to come.”

Restored quarry

Besthorpe Nature Reserve, situated off Trent Lane, Besthorpe, covers almost 70 hectares alongside the River Trent between the villages of Collingham and Besthorpe. It was developed through the restoration of sand and gravel quarries and is now home to an array of wildlife. It forms part of a wider complex of wetland sites in the Trent Vale.

Generous support

The project has received generous support from a wide range of businesses, volunteers, clubs, local groups and individuals and forms a major contribution to the work of the Trent Vale Landscape Partnership, a £2.6m project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Work on site has been funded by contributions from E.ON as well as Landfill Communities Fund grants from Biffaward, Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK and SITA Trust. 

Captured on camera: Pictured are local volunteer Andrew Hindmarsh, Sam Gorin (Besthorpe Parish Counci)l and David Cansfield Lafarge Aggregates

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