The next exciting stage in the restoration of the former Rufford Colliery near Rainworth to nationally important Sherwood Forest habitats will soon be underway, with the replacement of non-native conifer plantations with Sherwood oaks as part of the continued regeneration of North Nottinghamshire.
The former Colliery, covering over 225 hectares of land and owned by regeneration company Harworth Group plc, closed in 1993 after eight decades of mining. Since Colliery tipping ended for good with the closure of Clipstone Colliery in 2003, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has worked with successive landowners to gradually restore the site over time, with the southern part of the site now restored as part of the County’s largest ever heathland recreation programme, totalling over 100 hectares, which will be completed in 2019.
Work is now beginning on the restoration of the Northern part of the site. Amongst the dense, dark plantations of immature Corsican Pines and larch, oak and birch saplings will form the wood pasture and woodland habitats of the future. Harworth Group and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are working closely together to make sure that the best habitats possible for wildlife can be created on the site, with a large mosaic of heathlands and woodlands, teeming with lizards, nightjars, tiger beetles and woodland birds now emerging.
The wood pasture of Sherwood Forest is of international importance for wildlife and the great iconic oaks that are so well loved locally and recognised nationally all started as small saplings like those at Rufford a thousand years ago. By giving these saplings light and space they will be able to develop into the giant spreading oaks of the future and become homes to glow-worms, lesser spotted woodpeckers and bats.
Janice Bradley, Head of Conservation for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said:
“We are delighted that this major habitat creation initiative is underway, which will further increase the wildlife value of this exciting area of Sherwood habitats. We have already seen iconic Sherwood species, such as woodlark, colonising the restored heathland areas as a result of our work with Harworth Group, and look forward to seeing the results of this next stage of habitat restoration work.”
Richard Grey, Operations Manager at Harworth Group, added:
“We have worked closely with the Trust in restoring a large part of the former Colliery for a number of years and we’re pleased that the restoration of its Northern edge has now begun. With our work here and at the former Thoresby Colliery near Edwinstowe, both organisations are making significant progress in maintaining the integrity of the Sherwood Forest for generations to come.”