Nottingham Green Guardians

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Sneinton Restoration; Will you put your stamp on it?

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Sneinton Greenway, was formally a railway line (you may have heard the linear woodland being called Sneinton Railway Lands), established in 1886, and transported goods out of Manvers Street Station. The line wasn’t used to transport passengers because bus and tram services were cheaper and more convenient for the working people of Nottingham during the first half of the 20th century. By the 1960’s railway networks were significantly reduced nationally, some 2000 stations were abolished, with Manvers Street Station closing in June 1966.

1967, Manvers Goods Station following closure and lifting of the track.

1967, Manvers Goods Station following closure and lifting of the track.

The land was derelict for years, described as an eyesore by many. The only business along the stretch of the disused railway land between closure, and redevelopment was Trickett’s Scrapyard, situated where The Greenway Community Centre now stands.

It was Sneinton Environmental Society who first suggested that the railway should be transformed into a Greenspace; they wanted there to be a connection between the city, London Road and Colwick Park for walkers and cyclists to enjoy. They pressed the City Council for some time until 1987, when the redevelopment was publicly proposed. Negotiations began the following year for the city to purchase the land from British Rail, and a deal was signed in 1990.

As you walk from Sneinton Hermitage towards Manvers Street, the railway-related infrastructure is unmistakeable and still dominant. Sneinton Greenway is now an essential wildlife corridor in a highly developed part of the city, and designated as a local wildlife site. It comprises of a mosaic of native woodland, scrub, and patches of grassland. However, poor habitat management in recent years, has resulted in areas being encroached by dominant brambles and Hawthorne and at risk of losing significant biodiversity. This is where the Nottingham Green Guardians come in!

So, where do you start? I hear you ask. Well, when starting on a new conservation project, you have to establish what is there; the habitats, how it flows, the types of flora, and fauna, threats and issues, access, its connectivity to other green spaces and so on. Our newest park ranger visited the site in February 2022 with our biodiversity officer, Charlie. They went over some of the existing habitats and species, as well as highlighting immediate works that needed carrying out. The ranger visited the site on two more occasions to establish present species (and conduct huge litter picks), as species vary throughout the seasons. With some additional research looking at previously recorded species data, a clear picture of the whole site’s biodiversity potential could be painted.

Using the information researched, a short conservation plan was formed, underlining key areas to carry out habitat management, how this will support present animal communities, and hopefully attract new ones!

The majority of this habitat work should be conducted during autumn and winter months, as to reduce disturbance to wildlife as much as possible. Since then, the Nottingham Green Guardians have held two work parties, and great progress is already being made; the Green Guardians have cleared a huge area of scrub at the East entrance by Racecourse Island, as well as new planting throughout the site, with additional litter picks from local Clean Champions.

The Green Guardians team are at awe with the progress the volunteer programme has made in the past year; from one, or even zero volunteers for a conservation session, now five or six at times. We couldn’t do it without them, but, there’s still so much to do, city wide, and at Sneinton Greenway. One key target is to get more local people get involved. So, this is a call for readers in Sneinton to come and have a go at preserving greenspace on your doorstep, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can fall in love with a place that really needs it.

By Danielle Green, Park Ranger

Do you want to put your stamp on Sneinton Greenway?

The Nottingham Green Guardians have the following upcoming volunteer sessions that you can join in with;

  • Wednesday 8th March 2023
  • Wednesday 29th March 2023

Both session run from 10am – 1pm and we will provide tools, PPE and light refreshments.

Contact us or sign up to be a conservation volunteer through our volunteer portal for regular updates!

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