Whats happening in Rushcliffe


Our next walk in the Wildlife Out and About programme is on Wed 11th Feb – Attenborough bird walk with Neil Glen (0115 9830946) – meet 10 am car park by the notice board. Followed by Sun 29th Mar – Woodland in Spring – Wilford Hill Wood – meet 11.00 a.m at reserve entrance (by the traffic lights at the TOP of Wilford Hill) for guided walk round this private NWT reserve with Mick and Carol Wheat (0115 9215389) . For full details of Out & About follow this link

The next TALK is Thurs 5th Feb – Herpetiles of Great Britain by Jack Perks looking at our reptiles and amphibians from the Dorsets heathland to ponds in Nottinghamshire. The talks are same day (Thursday), same venue (Methodist Church, West Bridgford, same room, same time (7.30 pm) and same price (£2.50 incl tea & biccies), indeed only the talks are different. For full details of the programme and location venue follow this link to the WILDLIFE TALKS PAGE

Autumn also means the start of the Work Party season. If you are interested in making a practical contribution to local nature conservation there are a lot of local reserve work parties in Rushcliffe and they are great way to get outside and make a regular contribution to helping preserve our wildlife habitats. The current list is attached here RESERVE WORK PARTIES or go to the Monthly Diary record.

Help Notts Wildlife Trust help our wildlife

South Notts Local Group are organising their annual Spring Fair at Ruddington to raise funds to support the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Last years event raised a record £1,200 and this years Fair will be on Saturday 23rd May at St Peters Rooms, Ruddington ( 10 till 12). If you are able to help us in any of the following areas we would be delighted to hear from you.

Provide plants for sale – contact Gordon Dyne (015 8784842 or gordon.dyne@gmail.com)

Bake some cakes – contact Margie Richards (0115 9376320 or marjeff637@btinternet.com)

DVD`s and CD`s – contact Valerie Holt (0115 9822317 or v.holt1@ntlworld.com)

Vinyl records – contact Scott Gorman (07828059658 or scottgorman1@btinternet.com)


Notts Wildlife Trust – Wildlife on your Doorstep Awards

This is a great chance to acknowledge work carried out locally in Rushcliffe  and Awards will be made in the following categories:

  • Schools
  • Churchyards
  • Individual
  • Best Group or Project

If we receive enough entries and nominations, we hope to make awards in each category in each of our Local Members’ Group areas giving a maximum of 32 winners in all!  The closing date for nominations is Monday 2nd March and winners will be presented with their awards in April.

To enter yourself or nominate an individual, school, church or other group for an award, all you have to do is supply a brief description of what they are doing to help wildlife locally. Entries and nominations should be no more than 800 words – if possible accompanied by a photo of the person or project – and should be emailed to communications@nottswt.co.uk. It really couldn’t be simpler!

So, if you know someone who deserves a bit of recognition for their efforts to help wildlife on their doorstep, or if your local school or community group is doing great things to give nature a helping hand, we want to hear from you.

Fairham Brook Project

The Fairham Brook is a significant wildlife feature running through Rushcliffe and was once classed as the closest thing we had to a chalk stream. Unfortunately the deepening and straightening of the brook’s channel by the Fairham Brook Internal Drainage Board in the early 1980s. Improved the drainage of surrounding agricultural land and to take flood water away from Bunny village, but drastically reduced the brooks ecological value throughout the straightened section. It was a long term aspiration of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency to improve the Brook`s ecology as the Brook is still known to support a range of fish including Brown Trout,  but also Swan Mussel Kingfisher and Grass Snake.

The water course from Ruddington Lane to Bunny is now under the care of the newly created Trent Vale IDB and they have started to change the situation with a policy of no dredging or regular bank cutting in future. In addition NWT and the EA with co-operation from the IDB have been able to provide EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) funding for a three years project to identify and implement a number of ecological friendly changes to the channel by the winter of 2014/15. These include

installation of pre-planted coir roll to create pinch points and speed up water flows, allowing the riverbed to be scoured, uncovering gravels which are used by breeding fish.

  • installation of a hard cattle drink to reduce the amount of soil leaching into the brook.
  • installation of a rock ramp to allow fish passage over a weir, which itself created a wildlife friendly pool.
  • berm creation – additional areas of permanent vegetation slightly above the normal water level, both good for wildlife and also to reduce erosion on the opposite bank at bends.

Under a separate project Notts Wildlife Trust is also carrying out enhancement work on Fairham Brook nature reserve on the south-eastern edge of Clifton. The site comprises of areas of neutral grassland, remnant reedbeds and small ponds amongst areas of scrub woodland. Originally the land was frequently waterlogged, leading to a significant area of open fenland vegetation. But as a result of the deepening of the brook itself, the water table has dropped drastically and the fen habitat is declining steadily.

NWT intend to halt this decline by creating additional ponds on the site to retain water, reduce tree cover to slow water loss and create a figure of eight ditch which will take in water from the brook at times of high water levels and transfer it through the fen area, connecting some of the deeper ponds and then slowly releasing the water back into the brook. Overall besides rewetting parts of the site it also increases the flood water storage of the site. Some of the work has already taken place – scrub clearance, topographical surveys etc, but to avoid damaging the peat layer the ditches and ponds will be created in autumn 2015.

Whilst this represent small pieces of mitigation for one of Britain’s last “heavy handed” drainage schemes it is hoped that it is the start of a richer wildlife future for Fairham Brook.

For a more extensive article based on Ruth Testa`s talk to the local group follow this link to a

Work at Skylarks Nature Reserve

NWT hads completed the major phase of earth moving works at Skylarks for this winter and transformed one area, looks a bit stark at the moment, but come spring and the re-seeding with wetland grasses and flora it will rapidly start to rebuild. You can see a network of shallow lagoons, islands etc. Already the bird population is adapting will gulls, cormorants and lapwings (up to 800) now appearing on site. There has also been some tree clearance at old Skylarks to open up the lake fringes.

The contractors will be on site over the next couple of months (we are waiting for some ‘good’ weather) so there is no point in rectifying the path at this stage, but it will be done prior to the reserve being ‘re-opened’ in April. We still have lots of fencing to go in, the new parking area will go in next week and the hard footpaths will be started soon. In addition there will be two new boardwalks, viewing screens, culverts, ditches and sand martin banks to be completed. It will be very busy over the next 3 months, but most of this is not major work and will not create too much disturbance, although it may well be worth putting in the email that Old Skylarks and our part of the eastern side of Blotts lake (the public footpath) will be closed for the second half of January and all of February. We have the official closure of the public footpath for the whole of Feb.

Keep an eye on the Whats On (printed or web site) for walks on the site this year.

Keep our bees buzzing!

Bee feeding and pollinating

Bee feeding and pollinating

Butterfly feeding and collecting pollen

Butterfly feeding and collecting pollen

Insect pollinators are vital for fruit crops – from apples to blackberries – commercial and in the wild – and for our garden and wild flowers to set seed. Some fifteen hundred species of insects act as pollinators in the British Isles, including various bees, wasps, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles. Most have suffered serious declines in numbers since the second world war; for instance, it is estimated that at least twenty of our native bee species have become extinct during this period! These declines are likely to be linked to changes in our landscape and patterns of land use since the 1940s. In early November 2014 the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs launched its National Pollinator Strategy “to protect pollinating insects which support our food production and the diversity of our environment” – planned actions to reverse the decline of the last 70 years. If you have a garden or allotment you can help:

  • Simply grow more flowers! Native species are best and plants which flower early and late in the season are particularly helpful to insects emerging from or preparing for hibernation.
  • Leave at least one patch of your garden to grow wild. This might look a bit scruffy to you, but it will provide habitat for your pollinating insects to breed, lay eggs and raise their young.
  • Cut your lawn less often and let the grass grow longer to allow nectar-rich plants such as clover to flower and feed pollinators.
  • Miner bee leaving nest burrow

    Miner bee leaving nest burrow

    Avoid disturbing places where pollinating insects may be nesting or hibernating. Most apart from honey bees live in the wild and hibernate or nest in holes in trees, walls, rotting wood or by burrowing into loose soil – careless garden tidying in winter can destroy next spring’s pollinators!

  • Avoid using pesticides. Check your garden regularly so you can spot problems while they can be controlled by physical methods – hoeing; removing infected plants or parts of plants. If you have to use a pesticide keep quantity used and area covered to a minimum.

See the Bees’ Needs website for more on this topic.

Rushcliffe Community Awards

In the Environmental Category I am pleased to say that Gotham Nature Reserve Trust was “best in class”, a tice little reward for 2-3 years of hard work at Gotham Sandbanks and they are now well on the way to turning this site round (it was gradulay scrubbing over).

Also shortlisted where The Hook at Lady Bay and Tom Shields for his work at Skylarks.

As ever the Rushcliffe nature conservation sector had a good showing and other nominations included Sutton Bonnington Community Orchard, East Bridgford Wildlife Group, Jenny Craig (of Bingham Linear Park) and South Notts Bird Ringers.

Congratulations to all. If you are interested some of these sites have web sites, so follow this to our our web link page.