Flora

General

Across the 2 reserves there are a wide range of terrestrial habitats types varying from bare rock through to mature woodland. Due to a lack of systematic management in the past the site has developed into the present attractive 'semi-wild' state that can be seen today.

This moasic of habitats not only adds to the amenity value for the local community, but also greatly enhances the conservation value of the site. To date over 120 species of native plants have been recorded on this relatively small area (not counting obvious garden escapees), these include approximately:

  • 85 Species of Wild Flowers
  • 20 Species of Trees and Shrubs
  • 20 Species of Grass
  • 3 Species of Ferns

Woodland

The majority of the woodland was planted in the late 1800's and consists mainly of Pedunculate (Common) Oak, which dominate the canopy. Many of these Oaks appear to have been coppiced approximately 40-50 years - this would coincide with the second world war, when timber would have been in short supply. Across both reserves there are scatted small planted areas of Ash, Scots Poine, Cherry and Poplar

Below the canopy, the sparce understorey/shrub layer contains mainly Broom, Hawthorn, Holly, Wild Cherry and Rowan with smaller amounts of Hazel and Elder - many of which appear to have re-generated naturally, despite the high levels of disturbance. There are also numerous mature Hawthorn throughout the woodland, many of which are remnants of the plantation's original boundary hedge.

The lower layers are comprised of a mosaic of bare ground (due to high levels of disturbance), deep leaf litter, Bramble thicket and areas of grass - Yorkshire Fog, Sheep's Fescue and Wavy Hair-grass, being the most common. Notable other plants found in the field layer include Bluebell, Foxglove and Wood Sage

The eastern edge of the site forms part of the boundary between the City and County of Nottingham and remnants of an double hedgerow are still visible on each side of the Sandy Lane bridleway: these may be some of the oldest trees on the site. Along the hedge bottom are Ramson, Hedge Woundwort and Garlic Mustard, amongst others.

Management

At present we are concentrating on increasing the horizontal and vertical structure of the woodland. Projects to date, of which many are on-going, have included:-

  • Moving self-set seedlings from near the bases of larger trees to more favourable sites.
  • Pruning small trees to promote strong, straight growth.
  • Weeding seedlings to reduce competition from fast growing vegetation (grasses).
  • Removal of damaged/unsafe branches from the older Oaks.
  • Creation of habitat stacks using the the removed branches.
  • Introduction of selected trees to increase species diversity.
  • Thinning of Bramble thickets.

We also work with Broxtowe Borough Council in reducing the height of the trees near the summit of the site and restored the view over west Nottingham.


Scrub

Between the woodland and the grassland, across the site, are sizeable area of very dense naturally regenerated scrub. Broom is the dominant species throughout this area due to the sandy free draining soils. Dog Rose is aslo very prevelant, which is a remnant to the areas former use as a rose nursery

Other species found in this area are Elder, Gorse, Hawthorn, Bramble and Pedunculate Oak (some of which are remnants of the original plantation).

The dense trees and shrubs allow very little light through to the lower layers resulting in sparse vegetation at ground level, especially in the areas dominated by Broom and Gorse. However, beneath the Hawthorn thickets, species such as Common Chickweed, Lesser Celandine, Foxglove and Bluebell can be found along with numerous grass species that are found elsewhere on the site.

Due to the free draining nature of the soils, the site often becomes very dry, especially in late summer. This causes some of the vegetation to become tinder-dry, especially the grasses, Broom and Gorse. As such there are several small fires a year - some deliberately lit.

Management of the scrub is intentionally minimal, as we are trying to maintain the area as a 'sanctuary' for wildlife. The main focus of our attention is to limit access, especially during the breeding season. This is achieved by using vegetation (such as Bramble), cut from elsewhere on the site as part of our management projects, to block the many feint desire lines leading into the scrub.

The only real regular active vegetaion management undertaken is the removal of burnt dead shrubs. Ideally they are left in-situ to limit disturbance and access whilst the surrounding vegetation regrows, and then removed in the following year.

We have also created a few 'experimental clearings' deep within the scrub in order to see what species will regenerate once the dominant broom has been removed. The information gained from this will be used to plan any future management, if any is felt necessary.


Rough Grassland

Across both reserves are small areas of rough grassland and mixed scrub. The main species present in the scrub are occasional Broom, dense Bramble and Raspberry and a small thicket of introduced Ornamental Cherry (cultivars). There is also a sizeable dense stands of Bracken scattered throughout.

The rest of this area is grassland with a dense rank sward, with the dominant grasses being Perennial Ryegrass and Cocksfoot. Other floral species present in the field layer are Cow parsley, Hogweed, White Dead Nettle, Spear and Creeping Thistle and Curled Dock.

Management

The main deisre is to control and hopefully reduce nutrient levels, the spread of 'undesirable species' and enhance access by restoring the network of surfaced paths within this area. Projects to date, of which many are on-going, have included:-

  • Control of scrub encroachment, restricting any shrubs and trees to their present extent.
  • Removal of washed-down sand and encroaching vegetation from footpaths, and resurfacing where necessary.
  • Control of Nettle encroachment.
  • Control of Bracken and Raspberry encroachment
  • Introduction of a mowing regime and removal of cut vegetation in order to reduce nutrient levels and dense thatch layer.

Grassland

At the top of the site are a couple of large area of semi-improved grassland, which was once part of Bankfield Farm.

These sizeable areas of grassland have a dense sward, comprised of Cocksfoot, Common bent, Perennial Ryegrass, Hairy Brome, False Oat-grass, Wavy Hair-grass among many others.

There are also numerous species of herbs in the field layer including Cow parsley, Meadow Buttercup, Ribwort Plantain, Greater Plantain, Common Ragwort, Perforate St John's-wort Hawkweed and Red, White and Bladder Campion, along with many others.

Around the perimeter, adjoining the housing, there are numerous large overgrown hummocks of accumulated garden rubbish, dumped by residents rubbish over the years. This, along with the high levels of dog faeces, has enabled dense stands of Nettle and Rosebay Willowherb to dominate in a small number of areas.

Management of these areas of grassland has been predominantly through the implementation of a mowing regime. Working in close partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council, the area is mown once a year, in early-mid September, and all cuttings are then removed from the site. Some small areas are deliberately left uncut to provide cover and over-wintering sites for many of the invertebrates present in the grassland.

This will slowly reduce nutrient levels available to the vegetation and hopefully allow more characteristic sandstone species to thrive. Also, raking up the cut material removes some of the deep thatch layer that has built up over the years of neglect, allowing more seeds to reach the soil level, and hopefully germinate.

Other management tasks involve control of invasive species, such as Rosebay Willowherb and Nettle - once the plants have flowered, they are cut down/pulled up to prevent them from setting seed. A sizeable section on the Sandy Lane Open Space LNR has been restored to more typical grassland.

To allow easier access across the Alexandrina Plantation, the rough path has been widened surface through external funding to create a circular wheelchair friendly route across this section of grassland.


Grassland (with Bracken)

These are areas of open grassland areas where lack of management in the past has enabled a dense stand of Bracken to become dominant.

Over the years a thick layer of partially decomposed fern 'mulch' has accumulated that serves to prevent other seeds reaching the soil layer to germinate, and so other herb species are few and far between.

From late spring through to late autumn the dense shading from the Bracken severely restricts competition from other herb species that are already present.

However, in early spring numerous Bluebells are able to flower and seed before the first 'fiddleheads' unfurl and the dense canopy closes over, shading out most other vegetation.

Despite the lack of light and space, several tall grass species are able to compete with the Bracken, with Yorkshire Fog, Cocksfoot, Tufted Hair-grass and False Oat-grass being common.

Management in this area was initially been aimed at reduction and control of the Bracken stand. This involved bashing/cutting the stems twice a year - in June and August. To date we have reduced both the height and density of the stand, which has presented the grasses and herbs with more opportunity to compete.

Experiments wereundertaken within this compartment to ascertain the best way to deal with the thick mulch layer in future projects, once the Bracken has been brought under control.


Amenity Grassland

This section is a small area of improved amenity grassland, lying adjacent to Thoresby Road, with Perennial Ryegrass dominating the sward.

In springtime, large amounts of planted Daffodils form a colourful display. This area is mown several times a year by Broxtowe Borough Council, as part of their road verge management policy, and so few other species of herbs are able to become fully established.

Those found throughout the year include low-growing species such as daisy, Creeping Buttercup, Dandelion, Ribwort Plantain and White Clover.

Management As this area is mown several times a year by Broxtowe Council direct management by the Friends is minimal.


Rock Outcrops

Although bare rock in itself may not be thought of as a habitat, it is important in that it allows specialist species to colonise the rockface, small pockets within the rock and the shallow soils surrounding the outcrop.

This is especially true on the north facing slopes which are shaded by trees, where lack of direct sunlight makes the rock slightly cooler and damper.

Lichens are able to grow on the bare rockface and grasses, mosses and herbs (such as Herb Robert and Common Cat's-ear) colonise the small pockets and ledges where sand and soil has accumulated.

Slightly further back from the outcrop, where there are very shallow soils is a dense carpet of moss with Sheep's Sorrel and Heath Bedstraw.

Management of these outcrops is minimal and normally involves removal of graffiti and accumulated litter, as the outcrops are a popular meeting point with local teenagers.

Broxtowe Council installed two benches at the summit outcrop, so that visitors can rest whilst savouring the extensive view over western Nottingham.

Other management indirectly concerned with the outcrops is the periodic management of the surrounding trees to ensure that the views are maintained.


The View From The 'Summit' Outcrop

For a full listing of all plants recorded on the site to-date.
Use the links above to go to the desired section.

It is hoped that other groups such as mosses and fungi will be added in the near future

Herb Species List

This page lists all the Herb species identified on the site to-date. Hopefully this list will grow over time as other species are discovered or begin to colonise.

Each species is categorised with both its common and scientific name, along with a 'frequency' based on the standard D.A.F.O.R rating. This gives a guide to the incidence of each species throughout the site as either being Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional or Rare. Please note that these ratings are only relevant to the site, and a species denoted as rare in this list is not necessarily a rarity.

If the Common Name is GREEN, this signifies that there is a photograph of that species in our library: click the link to view the relevant photo and click anywhere image to close it.

Family/Common Name

Scientific Name

Frequency

Buttercup Family

   

Creeping Buttercup

Ranunculus repens

occasional

Meadow Buttercup

Ranunculus acris

occasional

Lesser Celandine

Ranunculus ficaria

occasional

Poppy Family

Common Poppy

Papaver rhoeas

rare

Long-headed Poppy

Papaver dubium

rare

Opium Poppy

Papaver somniferum

rare

Cabbage Family

Hedge Mustard

Sisymbrium officinale

occasional

Wavy Bitter-cress

Cardamine flexuoso

frequent

Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower)

Cardamine pratensis

rare

Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiollata

frequent

Honesty

Lunaria annua

occasional

Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

occasional

Horse-radish

Armoracia rusticana

occasional

St John's-wort Family

Perforate St John's-wort

Hypericum perforatum

rare

Violet family

Dog Violet

Viola riviniana

rare

Wild Pansy

Viola tricolor

rare

Campion Family

White Campion

Silene alba

occasional

Red Campion

Silene dioica

occasional

Bladder Campion

Silene vulgaris

rare

Common Chickweed

Stellaria media

frequent

Sand Spurrey

Spergularia rubra

rare

Geranium Family

Herb-Robert

Geranium robertianum

occasional

Long Stalked Cranes-bill

Geranium columbinum

rare

Dove's-foot Crane's-bill

Geranium molle

rare

Pea Family

White Clover

Trifolium repens

occasional

Common Vetch

Vicia sativa

occasional

Hairy Tare

Vicia hirsuta

occasional

Common Bird's-foot-trefoil

Lotus corniculatus

rare

Rose Family

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus agg

abundant

Raspberry

Rubus idaeus

abundant

Tormentil

Potentila erecta

rare

Wood Avens

Geum urbanum

occasional

Willowherb Family

Broad-leaved Willowherb

Epilobium montanum

occasional

Great Willowherb

Epilobium hirsutum

rare

Rosebay Willowherb

Chamaenerion angustifolium

abundant

Nettle Family

Common Nettle

Urtica diocia

abundant

Gourd Family

White Bryony

Bryonia dioica

rare

Ivy Family

Ivy

Hedra helix

occasional

Carrot Family

Cow Parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

abundant

Pignut

Conopodium majus

rare

Ground-elder

Aegopodium podagraria

occasional

Hogweed

Heraacleum sphondylium

frequent

Wild Parsnip

Pastinaca sativa

rare

Dock Family

Broad-leaved Dock

Rumex obtusifolius

occasional

Curled Dock

Rumex crispus

occasional

Common Sorrel

Rumex acetosa

occasional

Sheep's Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

occasional

Knotgrass

Polygonum aviculare

occasional

Heath Family

Heather (Ling)

Calluna vulgaris

rare

Bell Heather

Erica cinerea

rare

Primrose Family

Scarlet Pimpernel

Anagallis arvensis

rare

Bindweed Family

Field Bindweed

Convolvulus arvensis

frequent

Hedge Bindweed

Calystegia sepium

frequent

Nightshade Family

Bittersweet

Solanum dulcamara

rare

Figwort Family

Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

frequent

Germander Speedwell

Veronica chamaedrys

rare

Common Field Speedwell

Veronica persica

rare

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Veronica hederifolia

occasional

Labiate (Mint) Family

Red Dead-nettle

Lamium purpureum

occasional

White Dead-nettle

Lamium album

frequent

Common Hemp-nettle

Galeopsis tetrahit

rare

Hedge Woundwort

Stachys sylvatica

occasional

Wood Sage

Teucrium scorodonia

rare

Borage Family

Wood Forget-me-not

Myosotis sylvatica

occasional

Green Alkanet

Pentaglottis sempervirens

rare

Rough Comfrey

Symphytum asperum

rare

Plantain Family

Ribwort Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

occasional

Greater Plantain

Plantago major

occasional

Honeysuckle Family

Honeysuckle

Lonicera periclymenum

occasional

Bedstraw Family

Cleavers

Galium aparine

abundant

Heath Bedstraw

Galium saxatile

rare

Daisy Family

Common Ragwort

Senecio jacobaea

frequent

Groundsel

Senecio vulgaris

rare

Goldenrod

Solidago virgaurea

rare

Feverfew

Chrysanthemum parthenium

rare

Daisy

Bellis perennis

occasional

Yarrow

Achillea millefolium

rare

Scentless Mayweed

Tripleurospermum maritimum

rare

Pineappleweed

Matricaria matricarioides

rare

Mugwort

Artemisia vulgaris

rare

Spear Thistle

Cirsium vulgare

occasional

Creeping Thistle

Cirsium arvense

occasional

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale agg

frequent

Prickly Lettuce

Lactuca serriola

rare

Common Cat's-ear

Hypochoeris radicata

occasional

Nipplewort

Lapsana communis

occasional

Smooth Hawk's-beard

Crepis capillaris

occasional

Hawkweed

Hieracium umbellatum

occasional

Smooth Sow-thistle

Sonchus oleraceus

rare

Lily Family

Grape Hyacinth

Muscari atlanticum

occasional

Bluebell

Hyacinthoides non-scriptus

abundant

Ramsons

Allium ursinum

rare

Tree and Shrub Species List

This page lists all the Tree and Shrub species identified on the site to-date. Hopefully this list will grow over time as other species are discovered or begin to colonise.

Each species is categorised with both its common and scientific name, along with a 'frequency' based on the standard D.A.F.O.R rating. This gives a guide to the incidence of each species throughout the site as either being Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional or Rare. Please note that these ratings are only relevant to the site, and a species denoted as rare in this list is not necessarily a rarity.

If the Common Name is GREEN, this signifies that there is a photograph of that species in our library: click the link to view the relevant photo and click anywhere image to close it.

Family/Common Name

Scientific Name

Frequency

Pine Family

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris

rare

Pea Family

Common Gorse

Ulex europaeus

frequent

Western Gorse

Ulex gallii

rare

Broom

Sarothamnus scoparius

abundant

Rose Family

Rowan

Sorbus aucuparia

frequent

Wild Cherry

Prunus avium

frequent

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

rare

Crab Apple

malus sylvestris

rare

Domestic Apple

malus domestica

rare

Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

frequent

Dog Rose

Rosa canina agg

occasional

Currant Family

Red Currant

Ribes sylvestre

rare

Holly Family

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

occasional

Beech Family

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

abundant

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

rare

Hazel Family

Hazel

Corylus avellana

occasional

Maple Family

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

occasional

Horse-chestnut Family

Horse-chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

rare

Birch Family

Silver Birch

Betula pendula

rare

Olive Family

Common Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

rare

Honeysuckle Family

Elder

Sambucus nigra

occasional

Grass and Fern Species List

This page lists all the Grass and Fern species identified on the site to-date. Hopefully this list will grow over time as other species are discovered or begin to colonise.

Each species is categorised with both its common and scientific name, along with a 'frequency' based on the standard D.A.F.O.R rating. This gives a guide to the incidence of each species throughout the site as either being Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional or Rare. Please note that these ratings are only relevant to the site, and a species denoted as rare in this list is not necessarily a rarity.

If the Common Name is GREEN, this signifies that there is a photograph of that species in our library: click the link to view the relevant photo and click anywhere image to close it.

Grasses
   

Common Name

Scientific Name

Frequency

Sheep's Fescue

Festuca ovina

frequent

Red Fescue

Festuca rubra

abundant

Perennial Ryegrass

Lolium perenne

occasional

Annual Meadow Grass

Poa annua

rare

Smooth Meadow Grass

Poa pratensis

frequent

Cocksfoot

Dactylis glomerata

frequent

Least Soft Brome

Bromus hordeacesus

frequent

Hairy Brome

Bromus ramosus

occasional

Bearded Couch

Elymus caninus

occasional

Common Couch

Elymus repens

frequent

Wall Barley

Hordeum murinum

occasional

False Oat-grass

Arrenatherum elatus

frequent

Tufted Hair-grass

Deschampsia caespitosa

occasional

Wavy Hair-grass

Deschampsia flexuosa

occasional

Sweet Vernal Grass

Anthoxanthum odoratum

occasional

Yorkshire Fog

Holcus lanatus

frequent

Creeping Soft-grass

Holcus Mollis

abundant

Common Bent

Agrostis capillaris

abundant

Timothy

Phleum pratense

rare

Ferns
   

Common Name

Scientific Name

Frequency

Bracken

Pteridium aquilinum

abundant

Male Fern

Dryopteris filix-mas

rare

Broad Buckler Fern

Dryopteris dilatata

rare