Westhay Wood in winter
News from Rockingham Forest
What improvements can be seen on the ground?.....
A separate page where we report on tree planting, habitat enhancements and so on
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.
"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.....
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.
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 )
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.