Besthorpe Nature Reserve is a restored sand and gravel quarry north of Collingham on the east bank of the Trent. Once the entire reserve is complete it will cover an area of over 160 hectares.
Trent Vale is contributing to funding towards the restoration of the quarry. The site comprises two areas north and south of Trent Lane, totaling around 68 hectares. A further 100 hectares or so of restored gravel pits to the south of Mons Pool will be added to the reserve between 2015 and 2020, when further extraction has been completed. The reserve is held by NWT under a long lease from Lafarge Aggregates. A variety of interpretation, viewing screens and footpaths have been created.
Habitats at Besthorpe North include open water with islands, reedbed and shingle. This area attracts species such as waders, reed- and sedge-warblers, little ringed plover which has bred in this area for many years, and winter diving ducks including goosander and goldeneye.
Besthorpe South comprises traditional, unimproved Trent Valley wildflower meadows, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, known as Besthorpe Meadows. Key species here include Yorkshire fog, great burnet, lady's bedstraw, common knapweed, meadow vetchling and pepper saxifrage.
Mons Pool is an area of open water, new reed-bed and wet grassland. Features of interest include an unusual inland colony of nesting cormorants and an ancient heronry. Young herons have been counted and ringed here for many years and caused great concern when it was found that many were dying because of brittle bones. Determined work by the North Nottinghamshire Ringing Group and support by the Environment Agency eventually located the cause as pollution which has now been stopped. Monitoring is ongoing.
From the A1133 Newark to Gainsborough road, take the southern of two turns into Besthorpe Village and follow Trent Lane to its end where you can park and enter the reserve.
Besthorpe South and Mons Pool
From the A1133 Newark to Gainsborough road, take the southern of two turns into Besthorpe Village and follow Trent Lane. Turn left down the access track to the car park. There is a boardwalk allowing wheelchair access to the viewing screen. An enclosed hide is situated in the south-west corner of the Mons Pool area, although access is currently over rough ground from Carlton Ferry Lane or Northcroft Lane. Two additional screens are to be installed overlooking the southern end of Heronry Island from land which is owned by Collingham Parish Council, but is now managed as part of the reserve.
If you would like further information about the reserve, or are interested in getting involved in the management of the site, please call the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust office on 0115 958 8242.