Rushcliffe Country Park Wildlife WATCH

Rushcliffe Country Park Wildlife WATCH for children  have published their Autumn programme

First off on the 9th September we are going ‘wild in the country’. That means, weather permitting we shall be out and about using all our senses to discover what is lurking in the country park in late summer. This might mean that we will see how a tree feels when its hugged (not emotionally obviously!!), or how certain trees or plants smell when sniffed. Maybe we will come across a frog or a toad that might need kissing to reveal if there really is any truth to the fairy tales we know and love. As well as letting our senses loose in the great outdoors, we have a great game lined up – The Smelly Sock Game. Not quite as bad as it sounds – our socks will be fairly clean, but full of some interesting items for you to sniff at and to guess the contents. We promise no cheese of any sort. So don’t forget your coats and wellies, hats and sun-cream, nose pegs, etc. It will be fun. Start time is the usual 11:00 at the Education Centre and we will finish off with drinks and snacks just before 1 pm.

Then In October, we have an organisation called ‘Hawks of Steele’ coming to visit us and do expect this will be a busy session, so you might want to make sure you reserve a space and arrive on time so as not to miss a minute of the session. Prepare to be awestruck by some fantastic Raptors.

In November, we will be entertaining the Notts Fungi Group, who will be introducing us to some amazing fungi to be found in the park, so that will be a treat not to be missed. If we have time, we might even have a go at making and naming our own brands of fungi and we will all have fun guys (and girls). Oh dear, less of the silly jokes please we hear you all saying.

The Rushcliffe Wildlife Watch Group (for more info contact Geoff East on, for a full programme follow this link.

Winter Wildlife Talks Programme

Just a reminder that our winter Wildlife Talks programme starts again on the first Thursday in October at the Methodist Church, Musters Rd, West Bridgford as usual. we cover a range of topics relating to both local and world wildlife using knowledgable speakers. A snip at £3 per head (incl tea & biccies). Come along and try it, all welcome.

Full details of the 2017/18 Wildlife Talks Programme can be found on our web site 

Whats on a Twig ?

Tim Williams, lover of obscure and curious wildlife, used his microscope to take a selection of shots from a single twig I got from Wilwell. Not a special twig just a dead twig. If thats what on one small twig about the size of a pencil it makes you appreciate how vibrant and diverse the whole reserve is. He identified five different species of fungi, lichen etc living on that one small twig. It makes you wonder how much diversity a thorough study might throw up on just one site. Biodiversity is not just birds and butterflies fundamental to a healthy ecosystem will all these unsung heroes” making a living on twigs and stones, high in trees, underground, in marshes and on hard ground – life gets everywhere.

Photos of Tim`s little “menagerie” can be found here  

Moth trapping in Cotgrave Forest

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust carried out a moth trapping evening at Cotgrave Forest on 4th August 2017. The event was hosted by one of the woodland owners. Neighbouring owners were invited along and the evening was supported by two local naturalists/ ecologists, Neil Pinder and Mike Hill.

The event yielded a total of 27 species, which is good given the recent unsettled weather. Although no particular rarities arrived at our moth trap, the diversity in colouring and patterning of the moths was outstanding. This ranged from the mainly yellow Brimstone moth to the quite large and numerous Large Yellow Underwing, both of which came to our trap early on. We also saw the Blood-vein and Peach Blossom; the latter arrived at the sugar mix we painted on a nearby fence post. Both have very beautiful markings. Further information on
the moths mentioned can be found on the UK Moths website  ttps://

Cotgrave Forest is one of the ‘focal areas’, identified by
the Rushcliffe local nature partnership (RNCSIG). We are currently working up a project focused on Cotgrave Forest and it sourroundings. As part of this, we are offering support to woodland owners in managing their sites for wildlife and will be offering a free woodland training course for them in the autumn.

Ben Driver, Southern Conservation Officer, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy Annual Report & AGM

First published in 2003 the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy is intended to promote the development of nature conservation and encourage increased local community engagement with wildlife across Rushcliffe. For the last few years the Implementation Group (RNCSIG) has reported back to the nature conservation community as part of an annual Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Forum. However this year there will not be a forum as it`s place is being taken by a Woodland Training Day, which is a rather more specifically targeted than the normal forum.

So RNCSIG has decided to try something a little different in the way of reporting back for this year and also proposing the make up of the Steering Group by doing it online via Survey Monkey. The link to the Survey Monkey Online “AGM” is RNCSIG Online AGM

We welcome a response from anybody who is engaged in or interested in wildlife and nature conservation in Rushcliffe, so please circulate this to members of your Friends Group, Reserve Work Party etc – all are welcome to participate. We have set a deadline of Friday 1st Sept, 2017 for responses.

Cheers – Gordon Dyne ​   (Chair – RNCSIG  )     ​

Wildlife News in Rushcliffe

Wilwell – Ash Die Back has now been confirmed at Wilwell, as the site is mainly ash saplings this will not have a significant impact on the site. We have recorded Greater Bittercress for the first time and the return (after and absence of 20 years) of Black Horehound. Curiously we also have an aberrant Common Centuary (with some plants having flowers with 5 petals (normal) and 6 petaled flowers and Creeping Cinquefoil some with 5 petaled flowers, but others with an unusual 4 petaled flower. The Southern Marsh Orchid count was some 1,000 flower spikes.

Cotgrave Wood – Butterfly Conservation are running a weekly transect survey along the woodland ride and are regularly recording some great butterflies including Purple Emporer, White Letter Hairstreak and Purple Hairstreaks (all woodland specialists and locally rare) as well as the usual suspects, such as Ringlet, large Whites and Commas.

Lings Farm – A group of Bee Eater birds appear to be nesting at the Lings Farm, East Leake. These birds are rarely seen in the UK (although have been known to nest) and have caused quiet a bit of interest amongst the birding community. Lings Farm is part of an an active gravel extraction site and NWT have been working with CEMEX on the restoration plans for 20 years to ensure that the sort of habitat work we had to “back engineer” into Skylarks is created as part of the sites restoration.

Red Kites over Rushcliffe – there have been a number of sightings of Red Kites over Rushcliffe recently and hopefully thois means they are extending their range and will become a more common sight, as the Buzzards have. Keep your eyes pealed..

Bingham Linear Park – Jenny Craig reports the marbled white butterflies have returned to Bingham Linear Park – 7 seen at one time this is the most seen on one day!

Sharphill Wood – John Elwell reports that of the 7 nest boxes in the wood four were succesful with a total of 10 Blue Tits and 9 Great Tits fledging.

Rushcliffe Country Park – the count of Southern Marsh Orchids by the lake was a cracking 650 flower spikes, not bad considering it was unkown on the site a few years ago.

Reserve Work Parties

All our local nature reserves are set within a highly managed landscape and without controlled intervention most would eventually turn into woodland, squeezing out species rich grasslands and other rare habitats. Even small woodlands need some care and attention. In Rushcliffe we have an active nature conservation community that in effect contribute something like £200,000 worth of person time to the local conservation effort. But these groups can always use more help.

We are starting to move to the start of the Work Party season, and the following sites all have active volunteer work parties – NWT Reserves – Wilwell and Wilford Claypits and Friends Groups at Bingham Linear Park, Sharphill Wood, The Hook (Lady Bay), Gotham Nature Reserve, Radcliffe on Trent Conservation Volunteers,  Costock Nature Reserve, Cotgrave Country Park, Springdale Wood (East Bridgford) and the Green Line (West Bridgford).

All our local nature reserves are set within a highly managed landscape and without controlled intervention most would eventually turn into woodland, squeezing out species rich grasslands and other rare habitats. Even small woodlands need some care and attention. In Rushcliffe we have an active nature conservation community that in effect contribute something like £200,000 worth of person time to the local conservation effort. But these groups can always use more help.

Go to the Reserves tab at the top of the page and select Reserve Work Parties from drop down for further details.

Rushcliffe Country Park – Summer Wildlife Activities

The Country Park has a number of childrens wildlife related activities over the summer holidays.

Pond & Woodland Mini Beast Hunt – Wed 26th July & 9th Aug

Woodland & Grassland Mini Beast Hunt – Wed 2nd Aug and 23rd August

Den Building Wed 26th Jul, 2nd Aug, 9th Aug and 23rd Aug

Starting at Visitors Centre. All are 10 till 12 and cost £4.50. Book at Rangers Office, phone 0115 9215865 or

Wilwell Nature Reserve Photo Album

A book concerning the history and present day wildlife of Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve, Ruddington’s Hidden Valley, has been given to the Ruddington Library. The book was compiled by Tim Williams one of the Nottinghamshire Wildife Trust volunteers and presented by Gordon Dyne the warden of the reserve. It will be available permanently for reference.  The book contains photographs illustrating the sites early days from 1895 as an important railway line connecting the industrial north of England to the metropolitan area and beyond to the proposed Victorian Channel tunnel which began construction in 1882. 

 Today its 20 acres has a wide variety of natural habitats where wild orchids thrive in two wild flower meadows. Many types of birds live in the hawthorn scrub and marsh areas support willow and rushes. Badgers have constructed several sets and squirrels chase among the tree tops. The Reserve is of interest at any time of the year. 

You can request to see a copy at the library or Ctrl & click on this link to see the online version of Tim`s Wilwell Photo Album

Cotgrave Forest Focal Area

The butterflies of Cotgrave Forest in Rushclife, Nottinghamshire include a number of woodland rarities such as Dark Green Fritillary. White Letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak and Silver Washed Fritillary. (not to mention at least 21 other species of butterfly found in the area). Because of this the area around the Forest and Cotgrave has been identified under the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy as one of our primary foci for concerted nature conservation development.

The objective is to develop a Landscape Scale conservation outlook linking the Forest with the wider countryside through improved wildlife corridors along hedgerows and green lanes and looking at creating woodland copses to create “stepping stones” across to adjacent woodland areas, but also looking at the possibilities for other wildlife friendly features such as ponds, wildflower meadows, road verges etc. The mantra of the vision for this area is Better, Bigger and More Connected.

To make this happen a Focal Area steering group is exploring contacts with Cotgrave Forest woodland plot owners, Woodlands for Sale, adjacent farmers, but also looking to reach out further to other woodland owners, the Highway Agency, Cotgrave Country Park, local golf courses, solar farms etc etc. The long term hope is to link up with the larger, more extensive Trent Valley Living Landscape Project being developed by Notts Wildlife Trust.

If you want to know more please contact or you can go to for details of the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy.