Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the County’s largest locally based environmental charity, has recently completed the latest phase of work to re-create large areas of heathland habitat in Sherwood Forest.
The Trust, is working alongside Harworth Group plc to enhance and re-create lowland heathland habitat, once wide-spread across the Sherwood Forest landscape, on the spoil tip at the site of the former Thoresby Colliery. Harworth is also redeveloping the former pityard site at Thoresby into a new mixed-use development comprising an eventual 800 homes and 250,000 sq.ft employment space, complemented by over 90ha of open space which will have a variety of wildlife habitats that are special to Sherwood Forest, including heathland, acid grassland and oak woodland.
The latest phase of the work involved harvesting large quantities of heather seed heads from well-established heathland at Vicar Water Country Park, cared for by Newark & Sherwood District Council, and itself re-created on the former Clipstone Colliery Spoil Tip 20 years ago. This seed was then spread using a machine usually used as a muck-spreader over specially prepared areas of the former colliery site. The work at both sites was filmed by EMEC Ecology using a high tech drone. Seed has also been harvested from Budby Heath which is managed by the RSPB.
Speaking about the project, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Head of Conservation Janice Bradley said: “Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has ambitious plans for the re-creation of lost heathland habitat and the opportunity to work with Harworth Group plc at the former Thoresby Colliery site and the former Rufford Colliery site has enabled us to recreate more than 50 hectares of heathland and acid grassland habitat over the past 5 years, with a further 50+ hectares planned for the future. The harvesting of the heather seed heads at Vicar Water Country Park has provided an additional bonus of helping Newark & Sherwood District Council to reinvigorate areas of older heather and create a more diverse heathland structure that will be even better for wildlife. We’re delighted that we could capture the work on film so we can show people the scale of the exciting work that’s going on to restore habitats in Sherwood Forest.”
The heather spreading is the third stage in a well- practiced process which initially sees areas of colliery spoil covered in a thick layer of sand before being sowed with a mix of fine grasses to consolidate the sand and provide good growing conditions that will “nurse” the heather. The locally harvested heather seed heads are spread once the grasses have become established and the seed drops into the sward.
Speaking on behalf of Harworth Group plc Adam O’Brien, Project Manager at Harworth Group: “The Wildlife Trust have done a stunning job at both Rufford and Thoresby and the drone footage is testament to their hard work and ingenuity. Their work at Thoresby adds further diversity to the Sherwood Forest and helps to address the loss of habitats over previous decades.”
Anyone wishing to support the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in Sherwood Forest should visit www.championsofsherwood.com