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Archived News

Arable land. This was once woodland and perhaps it could be again?

Archived news from Rockingham Forest

Here is the news we published on the website between August 2022 and September 2023 (in reverse order!}

New funding for threatened species

15 September 2023

Yesterday Natural England  announced major funding for 63 projects nationwide to help 150 species to recover. One of the projects is entitled

Threatened Species Recovery for Northamptonshire's Woodlands and is led by Butterfly Conservation. In various woodland sites, habitats will be enhanced to allow species to recover and thrive.  ‘Stepping stones’ of enhanced habitat will be created in the Rockingham Forest and South Northants landscape for three butterflies (Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Wood White), two moths (Concolorous, Liquorice Piercer) and one reptile (Adder). 

More details can be found on BC's website here.

Wood White
Chequered Skipper butterfly

New local job with Butterfly Conservation

6 September 2023

Based at Fineshade but working at field sites across the county, this is an exciting new post. The Northamptonshire Landscape Officer will be responsible for driving species recovery for threatened butterflies and moths. It will involve co-ordinating and implementing landscape-scale

improvements in collaboration with landowners and project partners. 
Full details of the post are here. But hurry - applications close on 19th September.

Offer of help to plant an orchard

15 August 2023

The Orchard Project is a national charity dedicated to the creation, restoration and celebration of community orchards. They are looking for groups in Northamptonshire wishing to plant their own orchards that they can support. They will provide trees, planting kits, educational resources and online training.  The planting sites must be publicly accessible. They are especially interested in sites that are adjacent to schools or other organisations that might benefit from the greenspace and fresh fruit.

Full details and how to apply are on the project's website.

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Work has started on hazardous-landfill site 

3 August 2023

Work is already well underway on the extension to Augean's hazardous- landfill site north of King's Cliffe. Fields between Fineshade wood and Collyweston Great Wood are being used to bury hazardous and low-level radioactive waste for which there is no alternative disposal method.  The pit currently under construction is due to be restored by 2030 and should then provide a link between the two existing woodlands. Many local people opposed both the establishment of the facility and its extension, and you can read more about that on the Friends of Fineshade website. 

Trees and  woods: at the heart of Nature Recovery

25 July 2023

This important recent report from the Woodland Trust emphasises the central role that native woods and trees must play in restoring nature.  It deals with nature recovery at landscape scale, at woodland scale and at the scale of individual trees and groups of trees. 

If you are concerned about nature recovery at any level, it is well worth looking at this page of the Trust's website where you can download the full report and also get involved in the campaign to get government and councils to take notice.

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Launch of Community Grant scheme

12 July 2023

Community groups in the Rockingham Forest area can now apply for a small grant to help them complete projects that are in line with our aims: to enhance habitats and connect a wide range of people to nature. Applications are invited for grants up to £6000 and must be submitted before the end of September, with project completion over the next year.  This grant scheme has been made possible by means of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This webpage has more details.

(Monday 2nd Oct. Many excellent applications have been received and successful applicants will be infirmed very soon)

Oundle's PNRP is off the mark

7 July 2023

On Wednesday evening a group of folks from Oundle met to plan action for the town's Parish Nature Recovery Plan.  One part of this is to involve the community in counting insects, especially pollinators like bees and butterflies, in their gardens or other open spaces in the town. This will provide an overview of which species are doing well or less well in the town. Anyone of any age can take part - Just choose your spot

and get counting.  For more details of how to take part please download this flier or contact Ian Clark by email

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What is meant by Wood Pasture?

6 July 2023

Agroforestry and Wood Pasture are two terms that may be new to many people and both are likely to be very relevant for woodland creation on farmland across the Rockingham Forest area. In June the Forestry Commission and Natural England presented an online webinar entitled "Woodland Creation: Understanding Wood Pasture and Agroforestry". The webinar, which was recorded, explained the benefits of introducing more trees, woodland and forestry into the farmed landscape.  The recording is available as a YouTube video here.  The entire video runs for 90 minutes but Nigel Pilling's presentation starting after 26 minutes  is particularly interesting and relevant.

Launch of Parishes Nature Recovery Plans

10 May 2023

Yesterday representatives of 14 community groups from across the Rockingham Forest area met at King’s Cliffe for the launch of the initiative to create Parish Nature Recovery Plans (PNRPs) -  local communities  developing and implementing medium-term plans to benefit nature in their areas.  During the morning there were presentations describing the support and resources available and this was followed by a guided tour, led by Charles Tomalin, to see the amazing the nature recovery already underway in King's Cliffe.  You can read more details of PNRP's here - please do get in contact if you'd like to be involved in this initiative.

There is a 3-minute YouTube video animation introducing PNRPs here

PNRP launch

Forestry England is creating "Coronation Woods"

3 May 2023

Forestry England  have announced that, over the next two years, they will be creating woods to celebrate the coronation. There will be large-scale woodland creation,  and  funding for local communities to plant trees in the King’s honour. Land that Forestry England buys for new Coronation Woods will meet strict criteria and the new woodlands will then become part of the nation’s forests. There will be funding support for local authorities, parish councils and housing associations to deliver local planting initiatives including community orchards, small areas of woodland and ‘tree handouts’.  More details are on Forestry England's website


Opportunity to work (and train) in the forest 

24 April 2023

The Royal Forestry Society in partnership with North Northamptonshire Council is providing an opportunity for a young person to secure a Year's paid placement - hopefully an excellent first step to a successful forestry career. As Assistant Parks and Woodland Ranger they would be based at East Carlton Countryside Park and work in the Corby Woodlands.  More on the RFS website. Please spread the word if you know anyone who could be interested.

This appointment is part of the Building the
Links for Rockingham Forest project.

East Carlton Countryside Park

Environmental Enhancement for the Bulwick Estate 

19 April 2023

1000 acres of land between Harringworth and Bulwick will be enhanced under a new Countryside Stewardship scheme that was announced today. This follows years of planning, consultation and a 700-page feasibility study and master plan. There will be hay meadows, wood pasture, infield plots, miles of field-edge strips and hedgerows along with a programme of educational visits, information boards etc.

The estate's website has begun to lay out the details of the plan. Rockingham Forest Vision are delighted! We will  provide as much support as we can to help the estate bring its plans to fruition.  Bravo!

Grafting apples for Community Orchards

13 March 2023

We're on the way to starting some community orchards. Eight keen people came to a workshop at East Carlton Park on Sunday 12th March to learn the fine old art of grafting. They were given a choice of about 40 local and heritage variety of apple scion wood to graft with the sharpest of knives onto rootstock -  - and it was hard graft but with no cut fingers! Each of them were very proud of their two or three grafted apples which will now be kept in the Stamford Community Orchard Group nursery until late November. Then they will hopefully be planted out into new community orchards being planned in Oundle and East Carlton Park. Anyone interested in setting up a community orchard in the area should contact the RFV project officer.

Apple Grafting Workshop
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Local Nature Recovery Strategy for North Northants

17 February 2023

NNC have announced that work is about to start on producing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the county. This is part of a new England-wide system that will establish priorities and map specific actions to drive nature’s recovery. NNC will work with partner organisations, landowners and local communities to create the strategy, mapping key wildlife habitats across the local area and identifying priorities to improve, increase and connect habitats.

You can download the NNC report here to find out more.  Rockingham Forest Vision are, of course, hoping to play a role in developing the strategy. 

Competition for schools:
Young People in European Forests

6 February 2023

This Europe-wide competition for young people aged 15 – 18  aims to encourage our future foresters to showcase their passion for their country’s trees and woodlands by creating a media project which showcases their knowledge and understanding. Entries between 1st March and 31st May 2023.   More details here on the Royal Forestry Society website.

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Launch of a Community Orchard for Burghley

26 January 2023

Local residents and members of Stamford Community Orchard Group have planted the first new trees, 30 heritage apple varieties, in a community orchard at Hudds Mill.  Over the next two years about 90 apple. plum and pear trees will be planted on the site as part of the woodland planting of Uffington Meadows by Burghley Estate. Miranda Rock , SCOG President and custodian of Burghley House launched the orchard, and you can hear more of the plans for the community orchard and the wider estate here.

Woods for Nature - benefits of Woodland Creation

12 December 2022

The Forestry Commission East and East Midlands area recently announced a new campaign featuring a blog by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and a case study at Chatsworth.

This short video presentation introduces the project.  There are also training events, funding information, news and resources. 

Lots of information about the project, including a summary of all the grants available, can be found here: The benefits of woodland creation - Woods for Nature.

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Tree Warden Scheme for North Northants

2 December 2022

North Northamptonshire Council has recently subscribed to the Tree Council’s Tree Warden Scheme and an initial meeting took place today at East Carlton Countryside Park. Over 20 people attended and many were inspired to become Tree Wardens having heard what it could mean for themselves and their local communities. After the meeting the sun came out and some new trees were planted in the park.

Further information in the Get Involved section here.

Click for many more pictures

Launch of Building the Links for Rockingham Forest

22 November 2022

Today, the project that has received a quarter of a million pounds from The National Lottery Heritage Fund was officially launched at an event in the Council Chamber of the Cube in central Corby. An array of speakers including Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, welcomed the announcement of the 2-year Building the Links project, pointing out the national importance of reconnecting people with forests and nature.  You can read more about the project and the nine partners who will be delivering it on this page of the website.

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Photographic Exhibition: Earth Photo 2022

4 November 2022

A stunning exhibition of photos is now on display in the carpark at Fineshade Woods.  Every few years, Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society mount an outdoor display here showing the winning images of an international competition. There were five categories including a Climate of Change and Changing Forests.  Breath-taking, heart-breaking and mind-blowing, but not to be missed. They will be at Top Lodge until March.

Managing woodland habitat for reptiles

28 October 2022

In the middle of Fineshade Wood there are three areas that have been specially created to suit reptiles. Two years ago as part of the Back from the Brink Project they were cleared of the scrubby trees that grew there with the brash formed into long piles called “windrows”.  These run roughly east to west so that there are sheltered sunny places for Adders, Slow worms and Common Lizards to bask.  In winter the windows can provide suitable places for the reptiles to hibernate.


This week the three areas were mulched, cutting down the new growth between the windrows, a process that will be repeated at intervals so that the open sunny areas are maintained. The mulching was carried out by Butterfly Conservation as part of the Green Recovery funding for 'Chequered Skippers - Taking Flight', but with the agreement of Forestry England and advised by Northants ARG on timing of the work to minimise any impact on reptile populations.


Windrows, open spaces and refugia all benefit
Adders and other reptiles


Felled Ash trees near Fineshade's Tree House

Ash Die-back, Chalara at Fineshade Wood

18 October 2022

Right across Rockingham Forest the effects of Chalara, or Ash Dieback, have been very obvious this summer. No doubt accentuated by the drought conditions, even mature trees have been showing the tell-tale signs of disease. This week in Fineshade Wood, Forestry England have begun to fell all Ash trees near the way-marked trails for safety reasons. This means that there are various trail closures, all of which are very well signed. There is more about this on the Friends of Fineshade website and from there you can download FE's explanatory leaflet.

Record-breaking Clouded Yellow butterflies

9 October 2022

Walking footpaths south of Lower Benefield last weekend, we were surprised to see several of these unusual migrant butterflies using the clover fields that are still in flower. County Butterfly Recorder, Dave James came to check them out and the following day recorded 54 of them - a new county record. You can read more on Dave's Wildlife Diary.

It is possible that the parents of these butterflies arrived as European migrants early in the summer and bred. Their eggs could have become caterpillars and then chrysales, before emerging to fly in the October sunshine. There were still at least 23 flying yesterday.

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Photo of Clouded Yellow by Andy Simons

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Funds to support planting trees and hedges

30 September 2022

The Tree Council (TC) is offering grant support  through its Branching Out Fund to schools, community and residents groups, parishes, etc. to plant trees, hedges and orchards this coming winter . Grants can be between £200 and £2000.  All projects must have strong community involvement, and ideally involve children and/or young people. 
Applications close on 4th December

Competition for 15-18 year olds

29 August 2022

Young People in European Forests is a Europe-wide competition for young people. It began in 2011 and the UK will take part for the first time in 2022. It aims to encourage future foresters to showcase their passion for their country’s trees and woodlands by creating a media project to showcase their knowledge and understanding.

Rockingham Forest Vision Logo
Rockingham Forest Vision Logo

RFV awarded nearly £250,000

18 August 2022

The National Lottery Heritage fund has announced that it will fund a project entitled "Building the Links for Rockingham Forest".  This partnership project will link people to the habitats and wildlife of Rockingham Forest. Applications are currently invited for a 2-year post as Project Officer

Augean expansion - latest

13 August 2022

Augean PLC operate the landfill site north of Kings Cliffe that handles hazardous and low-level radioactive waste. The  formal "examination" of their proposed expansion  is now closed and is awaiting a decision by central government.

Rockingham Forest Vision Logo
Rockingham Forest Vision Logo

Evidence of Dormice in Fineshade Wood

7 August 2022

A project to establish which areas of Rockingham Forest still have the rare and elusive Dormouse has achieved its first aim. A team of volunteers checking footprint tunnels have found clear evidence that Dormice have been visiting the tunnels this summer.

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