Final Project Report: 12 Months of Partnership and Success with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

2022 update reports on major successes for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

“Thank you! Together, we have achieved amazing things over the last 12 months…”

These are the words that open the 2022 Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) 2022 Update Report and it is quick to see why.

Thanks to the support of Vp plc over the past 12 months, the NWT has been able deliver real success stories for their reserves and the greater environment of Nottinghamshire.

Initiatives that have benefitted from the support of Vp plc include the reintroduction of beavers into Nottinghamshire following an absence of 400 years, and the implementation of best practices for wildflower meadow management, which has enhanced the biodiversity of these important habitats within the NWT reserves.

A few snapshots of these initiatives are below:

Reintroducing beavers to Idle Valley Nature

In early 2021, a licence was granted by Natural England to reintroduce beavers at Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford, within an enclosure. The beavers will help to control invasive scrub, boosting habitats for a range of wetland birds. They will also create new pools of water to benefit everything from fish to dragonflies, and from amphibians to otters.

By early November 2021, the 55-hectare enclosure was ready to welcome the first beavers, following the installation off specialised enclosure fencing. Coincidently, the release was just days after Sir David Attenborough made clear in a special film produced ahead of the Glasgow COP26 conference that “we must bring wildlife and wild places back on an ambitious scale” and highlighted the role that beavers can play in enhancing habitats as “natural water engineers”.

Eight beavers, including four young kits, were securely released into their new home. Beavers are nature’s finest wetland engineers’, as they dig, chew through trees and create deep pools, all of which helps create diverse habitats that in turn benefit other species. This approach helps to deliver the Trust’s ‘Wilder Vision’ for Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

Within weeks of their introduction, there were clear signs of the beavers going about their work. This included prints in the mud, dung, gnawed trees and branches, mudslides and channels through the water.

The beavers have been lodge building within their enclosure and are already improving the reed bed habitat by coppicing willow to clear channels, which benefits other species such as dragonflies and wildfowl.

Idle Valley Beaver Watching Tours have also been a great success and provide a fantastic opportunity for people to enjoy this remarkable species and the incredible impact they are having.

Wildflower meadow management

Management of Nottinghamshire’s rare and important wildflower meadows is a critically important way to increase their biodiversity. The grazing of meadows, by the Wildflower Meadow Management Cycle herds of rare-breed sheep and cows is an integral part of this process.

Vp plc’s support has enabled the delivery of management best practices across the NWT estate throughout the last 12 months. The high-quality hay that was harvested last year from the wildflower meadows was used as winter-feed for sheep and cattle. This helped to ensure that they are fit and healthy before they graze on the Trust’s reserves throughout summer.

At the moment, the wildflower meadows are flowering in all their glory, thanks to Vp plc and a combination of Trust staff, volunteers and, of course, the hard-working sheep and cattle.

Wild work days

The NWT welcomed a number of local Vp plc employees to their nature reserves over the past 12 months and really appreciated their hands-on help with managing their reserves. Tasks completed included coppicing invasive willow to create a healthier, more diverse woodland habitat.


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