Why are Nottinghamshire's grassland and meadows so special?
Wildflower meadows and grasslands can be buzzing with wildlife. They support healthy insect populations such as bees and butterflies and create cover for small mammals such as voles which creates a food supply for larger mammals and birds such as barn owls and kestrels.
Since the 1930's we've lost 97% of our wildflower meadows and this has had a hugely detrimental effect on our pollinators that depend on these habitats for survival.
Most of the UK’s grassland is used for intensive livestock farming with the majority cut for silage. Silage is usually cut too early and too often for traditional meadows to flower and produce seed, seriously limiting the numbers of pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Such grasslands also provide little cover for small mammals with knock-on impacts on food supplies for larger mammals and birds.
We need to raise funds to care for our conservation grazing herd of Hebridean sheep so we can sensitively graze our reserves. Our aim is to graze using traditional techniques and leave buffer strips for invertebrates that also provide cover for small mammals such as voles.
This wonderful Site of Special Scientific Interest is a traditionally maintained ancient meadow where no artificial methods or pesticides have been used since it was saved in 1985. You can still see the original ridges and furrows, while admiring a rich diversity of flowers and wildlife. Spring and summer are the best time to see the array of wild flowers such as cowslips and green-winged orchid on the reserve, while the grassland butterflies are best seen from July.
This site is one of the best remaining neutral grasslands in the county. The dominant grasses are sweet vernal grass, red fescue and Yorkshire fog with patches of greater pond sedge. Characteristic flowering plants include great burnet, lady's smock and ragged robin. A good variety of breeding birds have been recorded here including snipe, lapwing and tawny owl.
Wilwell Farm Cutting
This reserve is one of the best wildflower sites in Nottinghamshire with more than 230 species so far recorded. Grassland plants include large numbers of meadow saxifrage and great burnet. Some 20 species of butterfly have been recorded, with gatekeeper and small skipper.
There is a wide variety of grasses, sedges and rushes with more than 60 recorded. The site also contains a large number of tree species ranging from hawthorn to oak and many species of fungi, mosses and lichens.
Your donation will enable us to carry out vital repairs and maintenance:
£10 - Essential repairs to fencing on our reserves
£25 - Essential medicines to help care for our grazing livestock
£50 - 50m of stock netting for fencing our sheep compartments; or wildlife friendly mowing of a hay meadow to maximise the wildlife interest
£100 - Wildlife Trust waterproof jacket and boots for our volunteers to survey and assist habitat creation and reserve maintenance.
£250 - Costs of managing grassland for rare bumblebees
What we will do with your money:
We will increase the numbers of our grazing stock to be able to sympathetically manage grasslands and meadows across Nottinghamshire.
We will cut hay late in the season; this provides cover for small mammals such as voles, ensuring a secure food supply for birds of prey including owls.
We will also continue our work with land owners to leave buffer strips for invertebrates to create florally diverse areas that are literally buzzing with insect life.
Cut hay from our reserves will be used to feed our grazing stock throughout winter and for habitat creation for grass snakes.
We will be able to upgrade and fix fencing at some of our sites so our grazing animals can be safe.
Without this work the remaining habitat would fail and become species poor, but with your support, we can enhance our lands, for the wonderful animals, birds and insects that rely on this threatened habitat for their survival.
Who are we?
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is the county's leading conservation charity run by local people for the benefit of local wildlife.
We look after nature reserves across the county and are working with partners to create a living landscape and networks of sites to aid natures recovery.
These reserves encompass around 1,400 hectares of land, all of which needs managing. This is carried out with help our teams of dedicated volunteers and staff alongside the Trust's own flock of Hebridean sheep, which carries out conservation grazing across our nature reserves, assisted by other traditional breeds of sheep and cattle.
We stand up for wildlife, working with government, local authorities, farmers and landowners to shape decisions and get the best results for wildlife.
We connect people and wildlife. We offer hundreds of events, activities and classes throughout the year - giving people of all ages the chance to experience and learn about our incredible natural treasures.
The Trust started saving grassland and meadows back in 1971 with Clarborough Tunnel Reserve, near Retford and then in 1979 the Trust fought and saved Wilwell Cutting, near Nottingham from a planning application from Stamford Waste Disposal and then took over the site in 1981. We stand ready to save threatened sites and as recently as 2014 we stepped in to purchase Blott’s Pit creating the largest nature reserve in Rushcliffe called Skylarks Nature Reserve.
The work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is on going and we are always looking to improve things for nature and find ways to stand up for wildlife and the environment. With the backing of people who care about wildlife we have accomplished so much since our foundation in 1963, long may our work continue.
Thank you for helping us restore these vital habitats
We'd like to thank Jacqui Grafton, Geoff Curtis, Howard Johnson, Michael Walker, Agnes Kiemel, Charles Langtree, Al Greer, Les Catchick, John Smith and Darin Smith for use of their photographs.
If you would like to know more about the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust please visit our web page: www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org
If you have any questions about the project contact: firstname.lastname@example.org