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Natural environment

Some areas and sites are given special consideration and offered planning and developments protections due to their biological and geological importance. This importance can be at an international, national or local level.

In some cases we look after and manage these sites, and in others we work with other organisations such as Natural England. 

Sites of international importance

There are currently no sites of international importance in Ashfield. 

The Sherwood Forest area is currently being considered as a possible potential Special Protection Area (ppSPA), which is a site of European importance.  It is being looked at as part of a UK-wide review led by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated to protect rare and vulnerable birds and their habitats, in this case, Nightjar and Woodlark.

Whilst the Sherwood Forest area is under review, Natural England has advised us that we should take a risk-based approach towards development in order to avoid or reduce its impact upon the protected birds and their habitats.

Sites of national importance

There are 9 Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Ashfield. They have some of Nottinghamshire's richest habitats, and cover approximately 125 hectares.

SSSIs are protected by specific legislation which includes a requirement for positive management.

The 9 sites are:

  • Bagthorpe Meadows
  • Bogs Farm Quarry
  • Friezeland Grassland
  • Kirkby Grives
  • Annesley Woodhouse Quarries
  • Teversal Pastures
  • Bulwell Wood, Hucknall
  • Teversal – Pleasely Railway
  • Dovedale Wood.

Ancient woodland

Ancient woodland is an area of woodland that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. These natural assets are irreplaceable and provide vital habitats for notable species.

The Forestry Commission provides a guide for assessing potential impacts on ancient woodland and veteran trees. There are 11 ancient woodland sites identified in Ashfield, by Natural England. They are: 

  • Healds Wood
  • Bloomer Wood
  • Bulwell Wood
  • Dawgates Wood
  • Dovedale Wood
  • High Park Wood
  • Little Oak Plantation
  • Millington Springs
  • Normanshill/Thieves Wood
  • The Dumbles. 

Sites of local importance

There are 4 Local Nature Reserves in Ashfield. These are mainly managed by us, designated in consultation with Natural England to encourage public access and enjoyment of the natural environment. The 4 sites are:

In addition, the Bulwell Hall Meadows Local Nature Reserve falls partially within the southern part of our District, but is predominantly located within Nottingham City authority’s boundary.

Local wildlife sites

Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs) are wildlife-rich sites selected for their local nature conservation value. Their designation is non-statutory but they are protected through local plan policies via the planning system.

The Nottinghamshire Biological and Geological Records Centre identify and review Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) and Local Geological Sites (LGS). 

Protected and priority habitats and species

The Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan identifies wildlife habitat and species which are of national and local importance for protection.

We consult with Natural England and other wildlife organisations on any planning applications that may affect protected or notable habitats or species protected under relevant legislation or in this plan.

Local Nature Recovery Strategy to be developed for Ashfield

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRSs) are a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies that aim to halt and reverse declines in biodiversity and deliver wider environmental benefits. The LNRS will also inform the delivery of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and help to guide local planning policy for nature recovery.

Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for preparing the Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Nottinghamshire (including Ashfield District) and the City of Nottingham.  We are a supporting authority.

For further details, including how to get involved in the future, see: