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Idle Valley Project

The River Idle runs through Retford and this project covers 450 ha of river valley to the north of the town.

The aims of the project are to restore mixed wetland habitats across this site and to enable people to enjoy and learn about this. At present the area combines remnants of wet grassland with restored gravel pits and some farmed land. Extending the grassland and creating lakes of high wildlife value will form key elements of the restoration. A new education and visitor centre will help people enjoy the site and bring a new education facility to the area, with a path network, hides and viewing screens to follow.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is working with partners including Tarmac, Nottinghamshire County Council, Bassetlaw District Council, East Midlands Development Agency, the Environment Agency, Natural England and North Nottinghamshire College.

Part of the site was acquired by the Wildlife Trust in 2007, with further areas following over the next five to ten years. Applications for funding for the remainder of the project are currently being developed.

North Nottinghamshire Woodlands

This project focuses upon over 2,000 ha of land, including and surrounding the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserves at Eaton, Gamston and Treswell Woods.

The area is predominantly arable farmland but with a strong remaining network of native broadleaved woodlands and hedgerows which are important for woodland bats such as noctule, woodland birds and invertebrates such as purple hairstreak. The woods have been reduced in size and are heavily affected by adjacent farming practices. There have also been significant losses of other key habitats and species, such as farm ponds of value for amphibians. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has already re-established traditional coppicing regimes on its land to help enhance the diversity of ground flora and its value for invertebrates.

The project aims are to:

  • Undertake exemplary management of Wildlife Trust owned land.
  • Work with landowners to increase the wildlife value of farmed land.
  • Link woodlands through conservation and augmentation of hedgerows.
  • Create new areas of native broadleaved woodland that will be of value to both wildlife and landowners.
  • Establish a great enough area of woodland that sustainable management becomes more economically viable in the long term.

Partners include Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the Forestry Commission and local landowners. Contact has been made with several landowners and advice given, but progress is currently constrained by lack of funding.

Rainworth Area Project

This area of lowland heathland, acid grassland and oak-birch woodland, extends over 4,000 ha along the eastern edge of Mansfield, from Rainworth to Clipstone.

These habitats are of high conservation importance and support many species rare in the region, including reptiles, nightjar, woodlark, noctule and Leislers bats, as well as many veteran trees.

The project’s aim is to work with landowners and partners to protect, conserve and expand these characteristic Sherwood habitats and to develop a significant cultural resource.

At the moment the land is used variously as farmland, forestry plantation, former pit tips, publicly owned country park, privately owned woodland, a sand quarry, a business park and a golf course. Rainworth Heath is owned and Strawberry Hill Heath leased by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, while Oak Tree Heath is owned by Mansfield District Council.

The project partners working with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, are the Forestry Commission, Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Natural England, Sherwood Forest Trust and Newark & Sherwood District Council.

Project targets include to: 

  • Protect, conserve and expand populations of the characteristic Sherwood species, reptiles, nightjar, woodlark, noctule and Lieslers bats;
  • Expand the existing Wildlife Trust reserves;
  • Develop a programme of environmental education and community engagement in the area;
  • Work with the local authorities to declare key sites as Local Nature Reserves.

The project is at an early development stage with basic information collection and scoping of its feasibility underway.

Sherwood Forest

This extensive project covers the whole of the Sherwood Forest Natural Area in central Nottinghamshire.

The Sherwood Forest area includes a number of sites of national and international, as well as local importance for conservation, including Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, Birklands and Bilhaugh Special Area for Conservation and many heathland SSSIs including a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve, Rainworth Heath SSSI. Other land uses include commercial forestry, arable farming, ex-mineral land and MoD land.
The characteristic mosaic of habitats includes heathland, acid grassland, oak-birch woodland, marsh, streams and support rare species including nightjar, woodlark, white clawed crayfish, Leisler’s bat and water voles.

The project aims are to:

  • Recreate substantial areas of lowland heathland and acid grassland
  • Link existing SSSIs and Local Wildlife Sites
  • Restore former heathland sites, including some of those currently under commercial forestry
  • Involve and engage local communities in their local environment
  • Improve quality of life in the area for local people
  • Achieve landscape-scale sustainable land management
  • Make the area more attractive for visitors.

The project’s many partners include Natural England, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Nottinghamshire County Council, The Forestry Commission, Sherwood Forest Trust, The Ministry of Defence, FWAG, Local Authorities, emda, landowners and mineral companies.

Substantial progress has been achieved over the last few years in habitat creation and land management, the introduction of a ‘flying flock’ for conservation grazing, managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and extensive education and community work.

The Trent Holmes Project

This project covers over 4,500 ha along the Trent floodplain in Nottinghamshire, from North Muskham to Dunham Bridge.

The aims are to:

  • Provide demonstrable benefits for flood alleviation and water resource management;
  • Restore the former biodiversity of the Trent Valley;
  • Provide an enhanced quality of life for local communities through a high quality landscape, increased opportunities for informal recreation, and opportunities for involvement in eco-tourism;
  • Maintain landowner incomes at economically sustainable levels but within a diverse landscape;
  • Enhance and strengthen the identity of the Trent Valley as a high quality, living landscape of exceptional wildlife value.

Important habitats in the area are lowland wet grassland, reedbed, wet woodland, species rich grassland and lowland heath. These are inhabited by, amongst other species; redshank, curlew, lapwing, bittern, bearded tit, water voles, otters and a variety of dragonflies and damselflies. The area also contains extensive and diverse archaeological resources dating from palaeolithic times onwards and retains a rare grazing system – another cultural asset.
Current land uses include arable and pasture farmland and mineral extraction sites. Nature reserves are owned by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at Besthorpe, Spalford Warren, North Muskham and Brierley’s Meadow and by RSPB at Langford Lowfields.

Project partners are the Environment Agency, Natural England, Nottinghamshire County Council, On Trent, Trent Vale Partnership Project, Newark Internal Drainage Board, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Parish Councils, mineral operators, FWAG and RSPB.

The project is at an early development stage, with some funds secured other bids in progress and a small area of wet grassland purchased. Partners are being engaged and community consultation commenced in late 2006. The recent successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund by the Trent Vale Partnership has ensured that funds will be forthcoming to help the delivery of our aims in the Holmes Area. These will include a natural and historic heritage conservation grant scheme for farmers and local communities, a grazing project and the creation of reedbed at our Besthorpe Reserve.

As it develops, partners will aim to secure agri-environmental and other grants to support farming livelihoods; develop an extensive environmental education and community engagement resource and create extensive linked areas of the above habitats, also conserving and expanding populations of characteristic species.

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