Sherwood Heath

Sherwood Heath (NG22 9DR) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Located near Ollerton, Sherwood Heath is open daily from dawn until dusk for the public to enjoy. The heath is a remnant of the heathland of the ancient Sherwood Forest. It’s fantastic to visit in summer when bell and ling heather flowers create a haze of purples next to the vibrant yellow of gorse.

The site is home to a variety of wildlife including birds, insects, seven types of bat and numerous species of butterflies and moths.

The park has been awarded Green Flag status in recognition of its excellent range of facilities, maintenance standards and opportunities for community involvement.

Parking is available at the entrance to the park near The Alders pub.

 

Management of the heath

The heath is part of the Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI and a local nature reserve. It is owned by the Thoresby Estate, leased to Newark and Sherwood District Council and managed by the Sherwood Forest Trust. 

The Friends of Sherwood Heath volunteer group is very active in the care and management of the heath.

Cockglode Wood has ancient origins, being a remnant of the woodland that covered the area long before it became the Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood. Rotary Wood is the exact opposite. The native trees were planted on the restored spoil tip of Thoresby Colliery in 1998 to 1999 to celebrate the Millennium.

The heath is a remnant of the heathland of the ancient Sherwood Forest, on which the flora and fauna typical of heathland have, until recently, been in decline.  It has been designated as a local nature reserve so that it can be preserved and managed in such a way as to bring back heather and the other plants of traditional heathland, and their associated animals, especially invertebrates.

Find out more about the ancient origins of the Sherwood Heath site on the Sherwood Forest website.

Habitats and wildlife

Heather and grasses

Heathland is an area where heather species grow. In Sherwood Forest the species are ling (a local variety is hairy ling), bell heather, and in wetter areas, cross-leaved heath.

In Nottinghamshire acid grassland and/or bracken dominate most heathland. Typical grasses are wavy hair grass, sheep’s fescue, and matt grass, with herbs such as harebell, heath bedstraw and tormentil. Gorse is usually present. Lichens and mosses are also important.

Why is heathland important?

Heathland is important because it is the only habitat for certain species and the preferred habitat for others. Many of the plants and animals that live there have evolved over thousands of years, have specialised to suit that habitat and are not suited to life elsewhere.

Animals and wildlife

Small mammals that live on Sherwood Heath include the stoat and the mice and voles that are its prey. 

There are birds too, but the most important animals on Sherwood Heath are harder to see.  They are invertebrates – small creatures without skeletons, such as insects, spiders, snails and worms. 

Some of the interesting insects at Sherwood Heath are:

  • green tiger beetles (Cicindela campestris)- one of the most attractive and easily recognised beetles
  • nationally notable longhorn beetles (Strangalia quadrifasciata), found in fallen logs
  • 60 species of moth, including the nationally notable angle-striped sallow moth (Enargia paleacea)
  • hornets (Vespa crabro) which often uses bird and bat boxes to build nests
  • anthills are an important feature of the flat areas of the heath near the Visitor Centre

Two declining bird species that may be seen on Sherwood Heath are the skylark and the barn owl.  Some other birds seen are kestrel, sparrow hawk, green woodpecker and yellowhammer.  Some nationally scarce birds we hope to attract are the nightjar, the woodlark and the hobby.

The common lizard is the only reptile seen regularly on the heath.

Environmental education

The park is available for use for environmental education purposes. Contact Lynn Preece by email lynn.preece@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

Conservation volunteering

Live in the Sherwood area? Want to meet new people, keep fit, help to conserve and enhance your local country park whilst having fun? Then why not join the Sherwood Heath Volunteers? No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm!

Tasks will vary from scrub bashing, fencing, visitor surveys, repairing footpaths, woodland thinning and habitat surveying so there is something for everyone! You will also get the chance to work at Vicar Water Country Park and Intake Wood in Clipstone.

Full training and tools will be provided but please bring suitable old outdoor clothing and stout footwear. Any hours and days that you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

For more information, please contact Lynn Preece via email lynn.preece@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk.

Sherwood Heath events

Thursday 9 September - Bat walk from 7pm.

Follow the Sherwood Heath Facebook page to find out about our events and join in the conversation. 

Friends of Sherwood Heath

The Friends of Sherwood Heath volunteer group is involved in helping us to look after the park. The group meets regularly and welcomes new members. Visit the Friends of Sherwood Heath Facebook page and get involved.

Forest school

Our park rangers offer a forest school featuring a fun outdoor learning programme for children aged five to ten. It’s available in our parks in Newark, Ollerton and Clipstone.

Miner 2 Major

Miner to Major is an exciting five-year land management project (2019 to 2023) supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The scheme is delivering a range of projects that celebrate and help protect the diverse wildlife, important habitats and rich heritage of Sherwood Forest.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with volunteering, have-a-go activities, restoring natural habitats, monitoring threatened species, planting hedges and trees, improving walking tails, free training and up-skilling courses, surveying historic buildings, learning traditional crafts and learning about local legends and heroes.

There are opportunities to take part in activities at locations including Rainworth Heath, Budby Forest, Sherwood Forest, Vicar Water Country Park, Intake Wood and Sherwood Heath.

Find out more about how to get involved on the Miner to Major website.

Park rules

Help us prevent fire, litter and wildlife damage. BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are not permitted in the park.

Sky lanterns and helium balloon releases are now banned in our council parks.