Record Year for Wildlife Volunteering in Rushcliffe

According the 2017 Nature in Rushcliffe Report a record 10,200 hours of volunteer time (valued at £192,000) were recorded last year and represent a phenomenal donation of time. The chances ever being able to fund anything even close to that level of activity makes you realize how important these volunteers are to maintaining the valuable habitats that support our local populations of wildflowers, insects, birds and mammals. An invaluable resource.

And this figure does not take into account the people who spend there time going out recording our wildlife, nor for the equally valuable backroom folk who run committees, fundraising, leading wildlife walks and publizing wildlife issues. Whilst Rushcliffe Borough Council does fund some activity and staff from charities like Notts Wildlife Trust do work locally, the majority of the effort is provided by people like yourself giving a bit of time, perhaps a couple of hours a month, on a regular basis,.

But we can still do more and Reserve Work Parties, such as Bingham Linear Park, Lily Ponds (Radcliffe on Trent) Meadow Park (East Leake), Sharphill Wood, Skylarks, Wilwell Cutting and Wilford Claypits (for a full list and details see www.southnottswildlife.org.uk and click on reserves tab – nature reserves) would always welcome additional help in carrying out a range of conservation tasks. including coppicing, grassland management, fence and path work, pond maintenance and very likely more. As a reward the work provides you with the opportunity of fresh air and exercise with a grand group of folk as well.

So do your bit for wildlife and get in touch. If you want more information about how you can help contact gordon.dyne@gmail.com or 0115 8784842.

Act as Trust’s eyes and ears to stop developers destroying nests and key feeding areas.

It is very distressing to report that over the past few months we have been made aware of a number of incidents, including two we are currently investigating, of developers carrying out vegetation clearance without sufficient survey checks for breeding birds.
Whilst vegetation clearance is often agreed as part of a planning permission, responsible developers should schedule this work to take place outside the bird nesting season (indeed this is often stated as part of planning conditions) and work which has to take place at sensitive times should only be carried out following a thorough site survey by a suitably qualified ecologist.

In the recent cases it would appear that construction workers have begun clearance work without such checks, leaving themselves and the developers at risk of prosecution and reputational damage. We will continue to raise these cases with planning departments and directly with developers but we would urge any member seeing work such as vegetation stripping of long grass swards, tree felling or hedgerow clearance during the nesting season (February to the end of August) to contact the
relevant planning authority.

Speaking about this worrying issue our Head of Conservation Janice Bradley MBE said “If you see work that looks like it could be destroying nesting habitat or even good foraging habitat in the middle of the nesting season, please contact your local planning department. Don’t assume that the work has been authorised or that adequate surveys have been carried out – in our experience this is often not the case and our recent experience suggests this issue is getting  worse. Planning Departments, Natural England and the Environment Agency don’t have the resources to properly monitor planning conditions so we are often left as a last line of defence. Anything we can do together to help prevent destruction of nests and to raise awareness of bad practice could be crucial in protecting birds and their young.

Grass cutting trial could benefit Nottinghamshire wildlife

A pilot trial is currently taking  place to reduce the frequency of grass cutting on selected rural roads in Nottinghamshire – which could benefit natural habitats and won’t compromise safety.

The locations for the trial sites at Top Road and Springs Road in Misson, near Retford and East Bridgford Road, Main Street and Newton Lane in Newton, near East Bridgford have been chosen by the County Council and Via East Midlands in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Misson and Newton parish councils.

The selected roads will also have a speed limit of 50mph or more, and the trial is underway for one growing season only, however, the grass in the vicinity of footways and at road junctions will continue to be cut at their original frequencies.  The current cutting frequency for rural roads with no footways is a single swath cut (the length can be up to 1.2m) twice a year for two years, with the full width of the verge cut every third year.

Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Communities and Place, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The trial sites are being monitored through the current growing season to ensure that the reduced grass cutting frequency does not compromise safety. If safety concerns are identified, the sites will immediately revert back to the original cutting frequencies. We believe this is worth trialling for the potential environmental benefits it can bring to Nottinghamshire.”

Mark Speck, Northern Conservation Officer at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This pilot trial will allow broadleaved plants the opportunity to flower and, crucially, set seed.  There will be an increased amount of pollen and nectar source for insects and arguably an attractive appearance to our roadside verges. Before the advent of herbicides and fertilisers, flower filled meadows were a familiar sight in Nottinghamshire. Sadly 97% of species-rich grasslands in the county have disappeared since the 1930s.

“This means that our road verges have become a vital refuge for wildflowers. With careful management grasslands can thrive in the county once again with beautiful wildflowers and grasses supporting butterflies and a wealth of other wildlife. We fully understand that motorist and pedestrian safety will be an important consideration when undertaking the trial.”

Newton Parish Council chairman James Fisher said:  “We are pleased to be asked to take part in this trial, for this one growing season, and to see whether there are any ecological benefits for our village.”

Dr Mandy Walker, Parish Clerk at Misson said “”As long as nature can be encouraged to thrive without compromising safety, which is our parish council’s main concern, then it will be a wonderful thing to see the beautiful colours of a variety of English wildflowers among the long grasses at the roadsides.”

Any Parish Council in the county interested in participating in future trials can contact Highways contract manager Martin Carnaffin for more information martin.carnaffin@nottscc.gov.uk.

Rushcliffe Resident Free Tree Scheme 2018

Rushcliffe Borough Council have announced a free tree scheme for 2018 for residents in Rushcliffe, applications for up to 2 free trees will be accepted via their Surveymonkey form https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DHFQSLK from June 2018. The trees will be issued from stalls in Bingham, West Bridgford or East Leake in November (dates to be arranged). Please note, the planting location for the trees must be in the Borough of Rushcliffe. All the trees are two years old and approximately 60-90cms (2 to 3 feet) high.

Trees available this year are:

Field Maple (Acer campestre) – grows  to 20m, partial shade

Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) – grows to 30m, full sun

Organisations and schools are recommended to request trees from the Woodland Trust, please visit their free trees scheme website https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/free-trees/. Farmers and landowners can obtain trees from https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/large-scale/

Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve Open Day

on Sat 16th June 10 till 4, we will be labeling up plants of interest and also be running a few guided walks round, as well as having the SNG nature table up. The reserve is on the road between Ruddington and Wilford on the left just before the Ring Road Bridge. The entrance will be signed and there is car parking or you could use the number 3 bus.

SNG Nature Table at Summer Fetes

This year we will be taking our nature table to East Bridgford Horticultural Show (30th June 11 till 4), Ruddington Summer Fayre (Sat 21st July 12 till 6), Lark in the Park (Wed 1st Aug 10 till 4) and Skylarks Nature Reserve Festival (Thurs 23 Aug 10 till 4). If you are there look us up.

Swift Awareness Evening at Kinoulton

There will be a Swift Open Evening at St. Luke’s Church, Kinoulton, on Thursday 21st June from around 7.30pm until it goes dark.  All welcome but it would be good if folk could let me know so that we have enough coffee/tea/bikkies for all.  We hope to have aerial displays of screaming swifts around the tower as well as views of the birds on their nests via the TV screen in the church.  Perhaps bats and a glorious sunset as well if we’re really lucky. Please contact Carol Collins, 0194981798 or carolwcollins61@gmail.com at the beginning of June, by which time we should have decided on dates and times.

Spotlight on Gresham Marsh

We are currently working in partnership with Rushcliffe Borough Council and the Environment Agency on a project to get a once much-loved but now somewhat neglected nature reserve back into good management condition. The site, known as Gresham Marsh is located behind Embankment Primary Care Centre on Wilford Lane and on the right of Gresham Park Road as you drive up to Emmanual School from the mini-roundabout.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust used to manage the site as a nature reserve, grazing it with our sheep. Sadly, due to limited resources and issues with livestock safety we have been unable to do this for many years. However, we are now currently working with the land owners (Environment Agency) and Rushcliffe Borough Council with the aim to get it back into good condition for wildlife and for people. We are currently engaging with nearby schools and colleges, health centres, groups and other organisations nearby, which may have an interest in the land and could potentially help look after the site.

Although some may consider that the site has become very overgrown, it is still a very important remnant wetland habitat, supporting much wildlife interest such as marsh, reed swamp, grassland and scrub habitats. It is of importance to breeding birds in the summer, wading birds in the winter and it used to support several species of scarce wetland plants and the charismatic water vole, which sadly hasn’t been recorded here since the 1980s.

At the current time there is a lack of resources to look after the land but we are hoping to address this by forming a new ‘friends group’ to help involve the local community with care of the site and to enhance its wildlife value. Such a group would provide valuable resources in terms of carrying out work on the ground and possibly bring in much needed funds. A renewed focused on the site will also help secure its long-term future.

We would love to hear from any nearby groups or individuals who could help. If you are interested in supporting such a project please contact Ben Driver, Southern Conservation Officer on 0115 9588242 or emailbdriver@nottswt.co.uk.

RUSHCLIFFE LOCAL PLAN FOR HOUSING

Rushcliffe Borough Council have released the latest draft of the plan for housing and industrial land allocation in our area. A weighty tome, the key pieces of information are the maps showing land to be allocated and once these areas are allotted outline planning permission is pretty much a formality (the detailed permissions would however be open to challenge) and equally important land not allocated (except for bits and bobs) will have a presumption against being built on for the foreseeable future (unless a government ups housing targets).

Have not had a chance to look in detail, but I don`t think any obvious designated wildlife sites are directly effected, but we will need to pore over the maps. What is quite good news is that the land to the west of Sharphill Wood seems not to have been allocated so hopefully the wood will get completely surrounded, which is a worry.  Of course chunks of countryside adjacent to many Rushcliffe towns and villages will be built on, but under National Planning guidelines the choice is pretty much not if, but where. In addition RBC have put in policies that should help protect designated wildlife sites and green corridors. Of course the devil is in the details and any policy on any topic always contains caveats.

Notts Wildlife Trust and Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy Implementation Group (RNCSIG) will be taking a look at the allocated sites and nature conservation policies and commenting, both on issues of concern and also supporting policies etc that we think are reasonable. If you want to know more please follow this link to the RBC web site
Home
 > Planning and Building > Planning > Planning policy > Local Plan   (the key doc is Local Plan Part 2)

But individuals have as much right to comment on the plan as groups and organizations and whilst we will limit themselves to commenting on wildlife related issues, individuals can comment on other issues of local concern. You can be sure building companies will be commenting on the local plan to try to shape it to their benefit.

There will be a Public Enquiry in due course and any comments must be in to RBC by Thurs 28th June.

Who are Keeping it Wild and What do we do?


  Keeping It Wild is the youth group of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for 13 to 25 year-olds. We started in 2016 as Young Roots Steering Group and then we received Heritage Lottery Funding to officially become Keeping It Wild! That funding allowed us to take part in lots of conservation and educational activities and get branded clothing like our Toad Patrol high vis vests (pictured). Last summer we even went away for a week to visit other Wildlife Trusts and see new wildlife including beavers and horseshoe bats! Now the funding has finished, we do lots of fundraising events in order to be self-sufficient. We have sold handmade Christmas decorations at Maggie’s at the City Hospital and at Attenborough nature reserve, put on a nature trail at Idle Valley Spring Fair and we had a stall at Green Up Day in Sneinton Market Place (pictured).

We also put on events to connect people with nature – we hosted a bushcraft day in Seller’s Wood and a family games event at Woodthorpe Meadow. During Nottingham’s Night Light we put on a silent disco for the public where participants wore light up headphones that played nature sounds to show them what we are missing in the city. Our mission is to connect young people to nature through our activities and to raise awareness of the importance of Nottingham’s green spaces. This year, we were part of the Creating a Buzz campaign, which included creative workshops with local poets and photographers focusing on nature in Nottingham, and a debate in the Council House with a panel of experts and around 100 local school children (pictured). We are also planning on shout our manifesto to parliament in London!

In the future, we are going to be trusted to manage our own nature reserve! We will be looking after Woodthorpe Meadow in Sherwood and hosting more events there to encourage local people to visit the reserve. We are also looking to raise awareness of our group so we can recruit new members and increase our fundraising opportunities, and we are looking for our own space to meet!

Want to join us ? Contact us on Facebook via @willow fox or via Laura Bacon on  lbacon@nottswt.co.uk or dropping a text or what’s app on 07711886414

We are the Future protecting Wildlife!