The reserve covers almost 48 hectares of ancient woodland and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Acquired in 1973, it was the first reserve to be owned by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Although lying slightly outside the boundary of the Trent Vale area, this nature reserve is included because it is such a fine example of species rich woodland and has become an important educational resource for groups and schools throughout the area. The wood was also chosen as the site for the re-introduction of the dormouse in Nottinghamshire in 1995.
The wood stands on poorly drained soils and is composed of a range of tree species including ash oak, aspen, elm, birch, crab apple and wild cherry. The shrub layer comprises hazel, field maple, midland hawthorn, sallow, guelder rose, dogwood and blackthorn. There is vigorous growth of honeysuckle, rose species and bramble. Flowering plants are typical of those found in ancient woodland and include sweet woodruff, wood sorrel, primrose, wood anemone, and herb Paris. There are also ponds in the woodland that boast species such as marsh marigold, yellow iris, water crowfoot, great crested newt, smooth newt and more than 12 species of water beetle.
A bird-ringing and nest box programme started on the reserve in 1972 and a common bird census has been undertaken since 1976, providing a fantastic ornithological record over time. Recordings include woodcock, jay, great spotted and lesser-spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and, in summer, blackcap, garden warbler and spotted flycatcher. The speckled bush cricket can be found in the wood, being on the northern edge of its range and another indicator of the wood's age.
The management programme for the reserve includes traditional coppicing to maintain diversity. This also provides of materials for the greenwood trades and barbecue charcoal.
The wood (SK 762789) is situated to the south of the minor road between Grove and Treswell, about three miles east of Retford. It is open at all times, but visitors please keep to the paths. The nature trail in the northern edge of the wood is open to the public in daylight hours. The southern part is a sanctuary area. There is a car park inside the main entrance for keyholders, and space for a few cars outside. Former owners who shoot in winter (normally on weekdays when warning signs are posted) presently hold sporting rights.
If you would like further details about the reserve, or if you are interested in getting involved in the management of the site, please call the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust office on 0115 958 8242.