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Friends of Nottingham’s first Local Nature Reserve 

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The Friends of Wollaton Local Nature Reserves (FOWLNR) established in 2003, look after three diverse sites; Martin’s Pond, Harrison’s Plantation and Raleigh Pond. All three sites are linked together creating a suburban green and blue corridor through the residential area of Wollaton.

Martin’s Pond was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1976, the first in Nottingham to be given this designation and thought to be one of the first in England. Members of the group can remember the area back to their childhood. Gordon, one of the committee members first memory of the area is being taken to the pond by his mother when he was around 5 years old, when you could still take a boat out on to the pond.

There has been woodland on the Harrison’s Plantation site since the 18th Century, and currently provides habitats for a range of wildlife including breeding birds, bats, invertebrates and a wide variety of botanical species. The site is just over 4 hectares and connects Martin’s Pond with Raleigh Pond.  Raleigh Pond at the eastern end of Harrison’s Plantation is thought to be a former clay pit and fed by an underground spring.

The sites are well used by the local community from dog walkers, cyclists, volunteer litter pickers and families enjoying a trip out. The Friends group meet on a monthly basis and as well as habitat work and keeping paths clear they try to get to know the local community with an information point.

James, who has been volunteering for around 5 years said “It’s my urban oasis, it has been great for mindfulness whilst I have been working at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I walk around for about an hour each day”. James said he is very aware that sometimes you don’t appreciate what is on your doorstep “I do litter picks when I am walking around to keep the area clean as I think it’s important for both residents and the wildlife here”.

Recently Nottingham City Council awarded the FOWLNR £100 through its Green Groups Fund to help the team purchase hot water flasks so they can provide hot drinks to volunteers. Cakes are prepared for volunteers and donated by Julie, one of the committee members. One of the volunteers told us “The cakes are delicious and even when Julie had broken her arm and was unable to do it all herself, she had her husband help so that we would not miss out”.

Ian, Chairman of the group has been volunteering since 2006, “I started volunteering when I worked at Siemens nearby, I would visit the sites on my lunch break and get a bit of time away from my PC screen. I even had the chance to visit the sites with David Bellamy OBE”.

Martin’s Pond will be undergoing extensive work to remove silt from the pond this autumn, it will open the space for wildlife to thrive, and ensure that the pond is in good shape for many years to come. 

Charlie Roberts, Biodiversity and Greenspace Policy Officer at Nottingham City Council said “We know that green spaces are valuable to our residents, especially during the recent lockdowns, the Friends of Wollaton Local Nature Resreves and the volunteers who manage these three sites are priceless to us, they do a great job caring for the site to keep it wildlife friendly as well as keeping the paths open so local people can enjoy the space”.

The group is looking for more volunteers to help with the management of the site from weeding and watering the flower beds in the two boats, habitat management as well as new committee members. If you have a few hours to spare and want to find out more information you can visit their Facebook page [] for more information.

Photo: News and volunteer stories – FOWLNR



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