Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington backs Wildlife Trust’s Champions of Sherwood campaign.

Mansfield’s double Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington has become the first Nottinghamshire sporting champion to back Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s ambitious Champions of Sherwood campaign to restore Sherwood Forest’s legendary landscape.

The Trust, the county’s largest locally based conservation charity, cares for three nature reserves in Sherwood Forest and is currently guiding the delivery of Nottinghamshire’s largest ever heathland recreation programme at the former Rufford Colliery.

The Trust is also a partner in the exciting Miner to Major landscape scale project that will see areas of habitat created, restored and re-connected over the next five years.

Speaking about the Trust’s efforts to restore the Sherwood Forest area Rebecca said:

I’m really excited about the restoration projects across Sherwood Forest. I have very fond childhood memories of visiting with my family and we often still meet for family picnics. I love that I can now take my little girl to enjoy the Forest and it’s great that we can take along the dogs and ride our bikes safely there too. The work that is being done by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to invest in the habitat and protect the wildlife is so important and I hope many future generations will get as much pleasure out of visiting Sherwood as my family and I do and I’m delighted to back the Trust’s Champions of Sherwood programme.
Rebecca Adlington

The current focus of the Wildlife Trust’s work is in the Rainworth and Rufford areas where it is working with partners to restore heathland and recreate wood pasture to benefit a range of species from woodlark and nightjars to common lizard. It also works across the Sherwood area helping farmers increase the value of their land for wildlife and hosts the Sherwood Catchment Partnership which is helping reduce pollution, improve water quality and improve wildlife habitats along water courses flowing through Sherwood Forest area such as the River Maun.

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Speaking about its work Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation Janice Bradley MBE said: “After years planning and shaping our aspirations to put back lost habitats and reconnect the remaining fragments of heathland, acid grassland and other habitats in Sherwood Forest it is exciting and rewarding to be actively delivering major habitat restoration projects and working with partners to ensure that investment in the area continues. Having the backing of someone with Rebecca’s local links and profile can only help us to deliver more in the years to come.” 

Oaks grown from acorns collected from the Trust’s Strawberry Hill Heath Nature Reserve on the edge of Mansfield will be used in habitat restoration work on former colliery spoil heaps in the area. Strawberry Hill Heath, which has areas of heathland containing both oak and birch trees as well as pockets of denser oak woodland, offers a glimpse of medieval Sherwood not often seen elsewhere.  Large swathes of the sandstone areas of Nottinghamshire stretching from Mansfield east towards Ollerton were covered in heathland up until the early part of the 20th Century. Much of this has now been lost, making areas such as Strawberry Hill Heath important to efforts to restore new areas and reconnect remaining fragments of typical Sherwood Forest habitat

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