If you’ve ever wondered how wildlife moves so effectively from one part of the city to the other, these three areas are a perfect example. Together they make up part of the River Trent Wildlife Corridor and are given official Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status and Holme Pit also has SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest) which shows just how special these sites are - well worth a visit. In fact you could spend a lot of time exploring different parts of these wonderful green spaces, and still find something new each time!
These Clifton sites are managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of Nottingham City Council, alongside Holme Pit Action Group.
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If you’ve ever wondered how wildlife moves so effectively from one part of the city to the other, these three areas are a perfect example. Together they make up part of the River Trent Wildlife Corridor and are given official Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status.
All three lie back to back along the banks of the river, which makes it easier and safer for insects, animals and birds to travel distances.
But they are also separate places to enjoy in their own right.
Holme Pit is a very large man-made pond surrounded with reed swamp and wet grassland wildlife habitat. Different types of birds nest here depending on the time of year. The habitat can be perfect for bird breeding, a place for birds to stay during the winter and a great stop-off point for those that are just passing by on their way to somewhere else (probably somewhere warmer!).
In Clifton Woods you’ll see the giant redwood trees and plants like crossword and yellow archangel. For the local pipistrelle bats, this area is like a supermarket – a place to hunt down many tasty meals!
The area is also steeped in history – much of which can still be seen today. The woods were originally used as a grand back garden for the Clifton family in the 17th and 18th century and sits by their old house, Clifton Hall.
Clifton Grove still has some of the ornamental planting that you would have seen if you’d visited in the 18th century. Also, you’ll see the remains of a pump house and the ‘Witches Steps’. While this may sound eerie, it’s a flight of steps leading to the former site of Colonel Clifton’s Pool. If you hunt around the wood, you’ll also find the remains of a fountain and a shooting lodge dating back to the 18th century..
Clifton Wood and Clifton Grove are managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of Nottingham City Council. Holme Pit is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust with Holme Pit Action Group on behalf of Nottingham City Council.
For more information on fishing at Holme Pit, or any activities of Holme Pit Action Group, visit their website.
Image © Cathy Melia
Visit Clifton Woods in early spring, and you will see the woodland habitat at its best - the woodland floor is covered in native bluebells. Look out for woodpeckers and nuthatch high in the trees whilst enjoying the springtime birdsong.
Clifton Wood is a large and diverse woodland that forms part of a series of woodlands that run for several miles along the River Trent. Different species grow throughout the woods. To the south, there's mainly beech, lime and larch, whilst the northern end of the woods is dominated by large oaks and sycamore. You may notice a few exotic species such as the huge 'wellingtonias' (giant redwoods), native to North America.
Clifton Grove woodland forms part of the woodland complex, running along the River Trent. Clifton Grove is over a mile long, joining Clifton Woods. The top part of the path is mainly grassy habitat.
Wildflowers grow in the undisturbed ground away from the footpath, which in turn attracts many insects, and there are a number of mature oak trees to be seen along the grove too. Birds make the most of the woodland edge habitat with its trees and shrubs providing them with feeding and nesting sites, and are easily viewed from the footpath at any time of the year.
Holme Pit has been designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for the range of species found in the wetland and marsh habitats. The most interesting part of Holme Pit is the reedbed which is a great a nesting habitat for many wetland birds. Listen out for reed and sedge warblers in the summer and look for reed buntings all year round.
In winter, you may be lucky enough to see a bird such as the bittern or hear the loud squealing of a water rail. Butterflies and dragonflies are a common sight amongst the flowers and rushes bordering the lake and frogs use the shallows to spawn every spring.
Image © Cathy Melia
The path next to the river is bordered by woodland that grows up the embankment. Many woodland birds can be seen from this path including feeding flocks of tits in the winter and jays. The abundance of woodland flowers attracts many insects including bees and butterflies. Many waterbirds use the river along the grove including ducks, herons, grebes and also quite a few kingfishers. Sparrowhawks and buzzards are also regularly seen here, soaring high over the river.
Image © Lorna Griffiths
The Holme Pit pond is managed by a very active fishing group, working closely with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Nottingham City Council. Like fishing and interested in finding out more? Visit the Holme Pit Action Group website.
Look to your left as you walk down the path - the steep embankment (cliff face) is actually officially recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as it had very interesting geological features. 'Gypsum strata' is the name of the special type of rock that is exposed here, and the interesting rock formations can be seen easily from the path.
As you walk along the main woodland path to Holme Pit pond, you decend down a hill (be warned - you need to be prepared to climb up the hill again to leave the reserve!). In spring and summer you will find a mix of woodland wildflowers here, including lots of lesser celandine and dogs mercury. On the other side of the path there is a marshy wet woodland which attracts birds and other wildlife throughout the year. In the summer, plants such as marsh marigold grow here too.
Between the trees, the remains of steps and bulidings from the 18th century association with Clifton Hall can be seen!
Image © Lorna Griffiths
All three sites can be accessed from a car park on 'Holgate' at the far end of Clifton village. Parking is free and there are signs and an information board to show you where to go.
To go in via Holgate, the NCTX Navy Line number 1 bus takes you along the A453 and you can get off at Clifton Green - you then walk through the village, to Holgate and from there you can enter each site.
You could also get off the same bus earlier near Fabis Drive and enter Clifton Grove at the Eastern entrance.