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A struggling crop after the wettest ever winter/spring .

News from Rockingham Forest

Here is a selection of news, national and local, that has particular significance for Rockingham Forest.

New website for National Character Areas

15 May 2024

Yesterday Natural England launched a new interactive website for National Character Area profiles. There are 159 of these areas and Rockingham Forest is number 92. By clicking on this link you can now find interactive maps and updated statistics which, NE say, will help inform decision making across the area.  The link to "Key Facts & Data" provides a range of maps and resources bringing together an amazing range of information.   

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A Creative Competition for Rockingham Forest

8 May 2024  and updated 13 June

A Creative Competition is now open, with the theme ‘What  Rockingham Forests mean to me’. This is open to anyone, all ages and abilities, and we’re particularly interested in seeing work from people who live, work or play in Rockingham Forest.


We would love to see a wide range of creative styles – we’re interested in seeing (or hearing) what Rockingham Forest inspires - whether you’re a writer, painter, photographer, potter, carver, crafter or singer (or in any other creative field). Further information here, and get out in the Forest to get your inspiration.

Contact Corinne if you would like to be involved in organising the competition:

Baroness Young visits Rockingham Forest

2 May 2024

It was a great pleasure to welcome Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone for a tour of parts of Rockingham Forest today. As Chair of the Woodland Trust, Barbara was keen to see the Trust's Millenium Wood, which is so ably managed by the King's Cliffe community -  we were particularly impressed by an encounter with no fewer than four Adders! Other highlights of her visit were seeing the very rare Herb Paris in Bedford Purlieus and the White Cross near the Willow Brook. There was much discussion about our vision to connect and enhance rich habitats across the the forest and it was great to see what has already been achieved on the ground.

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Local Nature Recovery Strategies for Northants

27 April 2024 

LNRS are part of the Environment Act 2021, delivering key priorities for nature across England. This means mapping all the existing designated sites for nature and exploring how they can be enhanced and connected.  Our local councils have partnered with Nene Rivers Trust and others to create a stakeholder engagement plan and you can find out more on the NRT website here.

There are lots of details on that page including an informative video and details on how you can be involved - there will soon be a survey for local residents to complete.  The plan is to produce the final LNRS for Northants by December this year.

Council reach target of 10,000 trees

3 April 2024

North Northants Council  have announced that they achieved their aim of planting over 10,000 trees during last winter's planting season. (Details here.) Congratulations to the NNC team who have been driving this forward, in particular to the Woodland Ranger Hannah Dunstan who has written this new blog article for us describing some of the highs and lows of planting so many trees during this wet, wet winter.  We have also reported on some of the planting events that have been organised on this page of the website.

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Bulwick Estates'  Biodiversity Project - a report

25 March 2024 

We have been publicising elsewhere on this website some of the great work taking place over an extensive area between the villages of Harringworth and Bulwick, on Bulwick Estates land. (See for example here, here and here.)  Today the estate has published a detailed report summarising what they have achieved over the first year of the biodiversity project and we are delighted that they have allowed us to make it available here.

Please click the button to download the 6-page report - a fascinating account of habitat creation and improvement here in Rockingham Forest 

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More money announced for woodland creation

19 March 2024

Yesterday the government announced large increases to the payments available to landowners who are creating woodlands.  The maximum rate payable per hectare is increasing by 45% from £8000 to £11,600. This includes a "Nature Recovery - premium payment option of £3300 per hectare to encourage planting or natural colonisation of highly biodiverse woodlands adjacent to existing Ancient Woodland: there's certainly lots of potential for this in the Rockingham Forest area! There's a summary of all the grants like this that are available to landowners on this page of our website.

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Walks without wellies - new feature needs your help

24 February 2024 

We often get asked where you can go walking in the forest without being up to your ankles in mud. The problem has been particularly bad this very wet winter but there are still very pleasant walks on man-made hard tracks  where are all you need is a decent pair of walking boots. This new feature of the website will list some of these tracks - from those at well-known visitor centres to less-frequented farm and quarry tracks that are open to the public. But we need your help - if you know of other possibilities that we haven't yet listed  please do let us know.  

Woodland Creation workshop

19 February 2024

Last week there was a full house at KIng's Cliffe Active for a free workshop and lunch presented by the Forestry Commission. This was aimed at local landowners and managers, explaining the benefits of tree planting and woodland creation, both for income and to produce good quality habitats.  Of particular interest to those present was a presentation on the new Woodland Carbon Code. A summary list of all the grants available was distributed and can be downloaded here

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"Forest for the Nation" competition

3 February 2024 

Today DEFRA announced that applications are open for a competition to  create a new "Forest for the Nation" .  Up to £10 million will be available from central government for the successful  bidder.  As well as new tree planting to connect and improve existing woodland, the emphasis will be on benefitting local communities and creating a lasting legacy that will benefit future generations.

A Phase 1 application must be submitted by mid March with a decision by the end of the year. More details here.

Quite an opportunity!

Funding to create 30 Community Orchards

26 January 2024

North Northamptonshire Council has announced that they have received funding to help local groups or schools create Community Orchards - up to thirty of them- across the county.  With expert support from Stamford Community Orchard Group, orchards large and small can be planted next winter.   Groups who have a publicly accessible site

need to register to join the project and then take advantage of planning help and free training through the year, not to mention the free fruit trees and planting kits to go plant in the ground in less than a year's time.  Lots more detail and registration here.....

Stamford Community Orchard
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Good news for Water Voles, but not for Mink

16 January 2024 

The Waterlife Recovery Trust (WRT) announced this week that American Mink have now been eradicated from eastern England. Mink predate our native wildlife, particularly Water Voles ("Ratty" from Wind in the Willows).  Control measures are now being expanded west including across the Rockingham Forest area, opening the possibility of Water Vole reintroductions along our streams and brooks. Some local landowners are already involved and volunteers needed to help. Read more here and contact WRT  if you are interested.

Weekley Hall Wood saved from warehouse development

9 January 2024

What a brilliant result  for the Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign!

Yesterday the Planning Inspector dismissed the  Duke of  Buccleuch's appeal and refused planning permission for the erection of 5 warehouses and other buildings on the woodland and meadow site on the northern edge of Kettering.  

"I consider the harms to biodiversity, the landscape and visual harm and, the fundamental conflict with Policy 36 are not outweighed by the benefits of the scheme".

Many, many congratulations to the campaign team who have been fighting this proposal for over four years.

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Rockingham Forest Vision - the video!

12 December 2023 

We are really grateful to journalist, broadcaster and student, Issy Clarke, who recently gave up her time filming and making a promotional video for us. It was one of those crisp, clear winter days and Rockingham Forest was looking at its best, as you can see. 

The video is presented by Jeremy Purseglove and is set in and around Bedford Purlieus.  Thank you very much Issy!

Butterfly Conservation's new Landscape Officer

5 November 2023

In September we reported on funding for a new project,  Threatened Species Recovery for Northamptonshire's Woodlands led by Butterfly Conservation. We are delighted to hear that Dr. Jamie Wildman has been appointed to lead the project as Northants Landscape Officer. Jamie is a familiar figure in the area as he lives locally and recently researched the Chequered Skipper butterfly reintroduction to Rockingham Forest for his PhD. We look forward to working closely with Jamie in the future and hope to support the new project's aim of creating  ‘stepping stones’ of enhanced habitat in the Rockingham Forest landscape.    ( Read Jamie's first blog   )

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Meadow Bridge becomes Meadow Junction

31 October 2023 

Huge congratulations to Kings Cliffe Wildplaces team who have enabled  the Railway Path to be re-opened by constructing brick pathways using over 5000 bricks from the former Meadow Bridge.  The bridge had become unsafe and, when efforts to rescue it met a solid brick wall ,the structure, very sadly had to be demolished. Now over 25 villagers have devoted their Sundays to putting the materials to good use and the full pathway, all 2 miles of it, is open again. Lots more details and pictures of this outstanding community effort on the Transition Kings Cliffe's Facebook page.

The Wildlife Trusts' Big Wild Walk 2023

12 October 2023

The Wildlife Trusts. including our partners WTBCN, are inviting us all to challenge ourselves by walking, swimming or cycling over a distance we choose during the last two weeks of this month. The idea is to get sponsorship, raising funds to protect wildlife  while exploring the nature around us.  So how about setting yourself a challenge within Rockingham Forest? For example, how about walking 30 miles in the forest area? And maybe you could write a blog article about it for this website too?  Full details and registration are here.

Sad demise of a landmark veteran tree

2 October 2023 and updated 9 October

Known as the "Cathedral Tree "in Fineshade and simply as "The Beech Tree" in King's Cliffe, this ancient tree has lost two of its massive limbs in recent storms. The cause of the problem is plain to see - there is extensive white rot though the fallen trunks and a likelihood of more rot in those that remain. Forester Scott Martin is not hopeful that anything useful can be done to halt the tree's decline. An arborist will look at the tree soon and until then Forestry England has fenced the tree off for safety reasons. It really does look very unsafe and it's so sad to see . On the fallen trunks can be seen initials carved by local people up to 100 years ago showing the part the tree has played in the area's heritage. There is more about the tree on the Friends of Fineshade website.

Archived news

Click here to read the news archive from August 2022 to September 2023

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