One of the real success stories of the last 50 years here in Nottinghamshire has been the creation of our unique suite of nature reserves, sites which have helped to protect traditional habitats such as hay meadows, heaths and ancient woodlands from destruction. Without the intervention of the Wildlife Trust, with the backing of our members and supporters, many of these sites would have been lost forever.
Our unique resource that needs support
Sites like Ashton’s Meadow, a rare haven of diversity in otherwise barren arable landscape. Ashton’s Meadow was saved because a child told their teacher about a special place where cowslips still grew in profusion. That teacher, Eirlys Gilbert, was an active member of the Trust and that conversation in class directly led to us buying and saving the site. This would not have been possible without our the drive and passion of our volunteers, members and donors.
Today we care for nature reserves large and small across Nottinghamshire; to ensure that they are home to a diverse range of wildlife, we have to carefully plan their management. Managing sites well costs money and as the size of our estate has grown, with the addition of huge areas of habitat like those at Idle Valley Nature Reserve at Lound near Retford, these costs have increased dramatically.
It is often the simple tasks such as regularly cutting back invasive scrub at reserves such as Strawberry Hill Heath in Sherwood Forest or at Wilwell Farm Cutting just outside Nottingham that enables wildlife to thrive. But the simple fact is that it often easier to raise funds to buy a new piece of land or to develop new facilities than it is to generate funds for this vital habitat management.
The cost of getting the balance right on our reserves is high, but the benefits are huge. Our reserves provide sanctuaries where wildlife can thrive and from the wider countryside benefits. They also provide places close to where we all live, so that we can connect with, and learn about, the natural world.
Our nature reserves are important and we know that other people think so too, which is why we’ve launched the Nottinghamshire Nature Reserves Fund, a new fund to help generate the donations and sponsorship we need to care for our nature week in week out. The fund will help provide the equipment and support our staff and volunteers need to undertake our county-wide work programme so vital for the future of cherished sites such as Treswell Wood near Retford, Bunny Old Wood south of Nottingham and of course Attenborough alongside the River Trent.
If you feel strongly, as I do, that these sites are important, then please support the Nottinghamshire Nature Reserves Fund today.