|Home and away – volunteer workday sites|
LNR = Local Nature Reserve
NNR = National Nature Reserve
SSSI = Site of Special Scientific Interest
See the Natural England website (
Chambers Farm Wood, nr Wragby: A part of the Bardney Limewoods SSSI/NNR, managed by Forest Enterprise. A lovely place to visit and walk. Each winter we coppice blackthorn hedges to improve food and breeding sites for the Brown Hairstreak butterfly. This is a traditional post-Christmas workday for us. We have also worked in the butterfly garden, including clearing planting beds and restocking with butterfly friendly plants, hedge laying and building a leafmould bin.
Cross o’ Cliff Hill Orchard, Lincoln: This traditional Lincolnshire pear orchard is an LNR managed by Lincolnshire County Council. We’ve helped with hedge laying to improve boundaries, with scrub clearance and with the planting of traditional fruit trees to preserve this interesting orchard.
This nature reserve was created on a site previously used to extract clay to reinforce river banks. It is owned by the Environment Agency and managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. We have planted trees and bushes, restored part of a woven willow screen near the bird hide and cut back areas of scrub to cut back to maintain the variety of plants and habitats.
Our first visit to this site marked the first time we had done reed planting, or worked for the RSPB. The work involved planting up blocks of reeds 22 metres by 2 metres in a low-lying wet area created from farmland, and then fencing the newly planted blocks to prevent geese and coots from grazing off the new growth before the reeds become established. Once they do they will spread naturally and look after themselves. They will provide a habitat for bitterns, bearded tits and reed warblers. n between the low-lying wet bits where the reeds have been planted, there are 'islands' of higher ground covered in flowers for bees, butterflies and other insects.
Hartsholme Country Park & Swanholme Lakes LNR/SSSI: Managed by the City of Lincoln Council, this is the best park in Lincoln! We’ve helped rebuild Black Bridge, created hidden glades in the woods, restored areas of heathland and protected the banks Hartsholme Lake with natural, living willow fencing. Swanholme Lakes is an important environment for aquatic plant life.
At Kirkstead Mill, a private reserve, we’ve cleared scrub, created new pathways and planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs, but it’s probably the delicious soup provided by the owners of this site that ensures the success of these tasks. Our work at this site also raises much-needed funds for the Group.
Lincolnshire Limestone Grassland Project –
Life on the
Life on the Verge is the largest wild flower survey of Britain's roadside verges and it aims to identify the most important roadside verges for limestone grassland wildlife in South-West Lincolnshire, North-East Rutland and East Leicestershire. With the right management, grassland growing on limestone soils can be one of the most diverse habitats in the country and a riot of wild flower colour in spring and summer. Forty species of plant can be found in a square metre of turf. Sadly, there has been a sharp decline in the extent of lowland limestone grassland across the country. We are helping to scatter green hay on verges within the project areas, to increase the wild flower populations.
Newt Hollow, Lincoln: managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, this is a small reserve not far from West Common. We clear nettles, cut back scrub, and try to maintain the pond and paths.
North Hykeham Millennium Green: a precious little reserve among increasing numbers of houses in North Hykeham, near Lincoln. A walk round the lake is just a mile. Over several visits we have removed tree guards from the trees planted in 2000-2001 and are now helping to manage the growing areas of woodland.
Rauceby Warren, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust: We have worked to rebuild the dry stone wall which protects this SSSI reserve, near Sleaford, from the busy road (and the many cars which attempt to drive off the road!). We have cleared scrub to maintain the open grassland. We have also pulled ragwort at this site and nearby SSSI reserves of Moor Closes and Ancaster Valley.
Saltfleetby/Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR/SSSI: We have visited this reserve, managed by Natural England, several times. It is an important dune habitat and a great place to enjoy the wonderful Lincolnshire coast and its wide-open skies. We have dug a pond, cut back scrub, cut down encroaching willing, and helped to clear footpaths. We also help out with Beach Watch to clear debris from the beaches.
Scotgrove Wood, near Bardney. This wood of small-leaved lime, a Lincolnshire speciality, is also part of the Bardney Limewoods NNR. We visit regularly to coppice trees to open out the main ride and to provide habitat variety.
Snakeholme Pit, near Bardney: A Butterfly Conservation managed nature reserve with a meadow, pond and areas of scrub. We’ve built steps here but our annual summer task is to rake up the cut hay once the wildflower seeds have dispersed so that the flower-rich meadow improves every year.
Southrey Wood, near Bardney: Managed by Butterfly Conservation, and also part of the Bardney Limewoods NNR, we coppice hazel to generate new young growth to improve habitats for the local butterfly population.
Thurlby Wood: a privately owned wood near Gainsborough where we have helped to coppice large areas of hazel to open up the woodland floor and improve habitats for all the wildlife. Our work at this site also raises much-needed funds for the Group.
Whisby Nature Park, near Lincoln, is a large reserve owned and managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. This LNR has a rich mosaic of wetland wildlife habitats, restored from old gravel workings. Our work here has included reclaiming grassland from encroaching willow scrub, tree planting, maintaining the footpaths on the site, reprofiling islands in the lake to improve them for nesting waterbirds, and working on the sandmartin nesting site.
Over the years we have also worked at ….
Besthorpe Nature Reserve: Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, coppicing willows to open up and improve the area for Marsh Orchids.
Boultham Mere: an oasis of calm, just minutes away from the centre of Lincoln, where we have cleared scrub, helped to maintain access steps, kept pathways clear.
Boultham Moor Wood: removing some young sycamore trees to favour native species.
Branston Jungle: Clearing footpaths to maintain access for visitors to this lovely little reserve.
Bridge Farm, Snitterby: an organic farm where we have helped with hedge laying to improve stock proof boundaries
Burton Pits: A former Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve . Clearing paths, dead hedging and creating kingfisher nesting sites.
Digby Corner Nature Reserve: A small oasis for grassland wildlife within an intensive arable farming area.
Epworth, Notts: constructing an otter holt to help local otters
Gibraltar Point NNR/SSSI: a Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Reserve with an extensive range of sand dunes and salt marshes, and renowned for its bird life.
Greetwell Hollow Quarry: Lincoln’s newest nature reserve, off Outer Circle Road, near a large residential development. The quarry is a SSSI for its geological formations.
Hobblers Hole, Lincoln: an area of grassland with a pond surrounded by hawthorn scrub.
Hospital Plantation, Birchwood, Lincoln: some people love the pink blooms of rhododendrons but here they just cause problems by shading out the woodland flora so we removed lots of them.
Liquorice Park Millennium Green, Lincoln: The wildest allotments in Lincoln where fantastic views over the city are guaranteed, featuring fruit bushes, orchard and arena all just a few steps from the historic city centre. Tree planting, hedge laying, cutting back scrub near paths …..
Moor Closes SSSI: an important grassland site where we have helped with orchid counts to monitor the population of early marsh orchids, and also with ragwort pulling.
Roman Herb Garden, Westgate, Lincoln: we worked with the Lincoln Herb Society to maintain this Herb Garden on Westgate.
Skellingthorpe Wood: coppicing in this ancient woodland and clearing the bridlepaths to maintain access.
Skellingthorpe Cycle Track: part of the National Cycle Network. Coppicing willows alongside ditches and ponds.
St. Giles Wildlife Garden, Lincoln: an area of hedgerows, streams, grassland and marsh all in a small garden adjoining the church on the St Giles Estate.
Tortoiseshell Wood SSSI and Meadows: hay raking to scatter the wildflower seeds
Washingborough Cycle Path: part of the National Cycle Network, cutting back overhanging vegetation and painting gates and signs.
West Common Pond: clearing reeds from this a Victorian ornamental pond and planting native shrubs.
… AND AWAY
Every now and again we have an away weekend to enjoy nature conservation further afield. Accommodation varies, depending on what the host organisation has to offer – village halls, youth hostels, bunk barns, etc. Over the years, places we have visited include:
Elsham Hall Country Park, N Lincolnshire
Far Ings National Nature Reserve: on the southern banks of the Humber near Barton on Humber and managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Madhyamaka Centre: a Buddhist centre nr. Pocklington, Yorkshire.
Norfolk: Holme Dunes NNR
Nottingham Canal: based at the BTCV centre in Burton Joyce
Peak District, Derbyshire: usually based at the Peak Park Centre at Grindleford and working at different sites around the Park – dry stone walling, clearing scrub, keeping footpaths clear….
Thornton Watlass: on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, working with BTCV.