Cotgrave Forest is an extensive area of woodland with a good mix of both conifers and deciduous trees and represents a scarce habitat in this part of Nottinghamshire where most woods are plantations with very limited flora and fauna.
It is particularly important for butterflies, with a number of species rare to Nottinghamshire being present, such as Purple and White-letter Hairstreak, Dark-green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Emperor. The woodland is a wintering site for Woodcock, Marsh Tits are regularly seen and Crossbills have been recorded. In addition the tracks, rides and rights of way support rich grassland which provides a habitat for a range of insects, foraging birds and small mammals.
Muntjac and Roe Deer are resident. Scarce wild flowers such as Woolly Thistle, Common Gromwell and Wild Basil occur, along with several species of fern in the shadier areas.
Under the umbrella of the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy Implementation Group a number of organisations, including Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group, Butterfly Conservation and Rushcliffe Borough Council, have come together to develop a project focused on improving the overall wildlife value of the forest and its surroundings covering an area roughly bordering the A46, A52 and A606.
In particular we hope in the long term to improve the quality of existing woodland and the connections between them by means of hedgerow enhancement and by providing “stepping stones” where ever possible, but not ignoring the importance of grassland and ponds.
The project hopes to establish a “Friends Group” centred on the Forest and to provide nature conservation advice and support to woodland managers and adjacent land owners, support measures for making improved connections for wildlife across the landscape, help build upon existing projects (eg Cotgrave Country Park) as well as developing new projects (and the funding to support them !).
At the moment our plans are at early stage and we are looking to talk with interested parties. If you want to know more about the project you can contact Ben Driver at Notts Wildlife Trust (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to web site: southnottswildlife.co.uk which includes maps and more information about the more unusual butterflies mentioned above.