Wildlife Sites in Rushcliffe

Cotgrave Forest

How to get there:

There is space to park on Laming Gap Lane to the south (now accessible only from the A606 since the A46 dualling) but cars are probably less vulnerable to theft at Clipston on the Wolds, where there is space for a few cars near Harker's Farm Shop.


Although there are still lots of dull coniferous sections and access off the footpaths and bridleways is discouraged, there is enough deciduous woodland and ground flora to make this one of the most species rich locations in the borough. Purple and White-letter Hairstreak are present and Dark-green Fritillary was discovered there in 2011 and was still present in 2014. In 2014 and 2015, Siver-washed Fritillaries were seen and also in 2015 one or more Purple Emperors put in an appearance amid reports from keepers that they had been present for several years. The main rides are bordered by the quite spectacular Woolly Thistle and there is a good selection of other calcicole wild flowers to be enjoyed including Common Gromwell, Wild Basil and Bifid Hemp-nettle.The north-facing slopes have a decent variety of ferns that include Borrer's Male Fern, Scaly Male Fern, Soft Shield-fern as well as the more generally common Male Fern and Hart's-tongue Fern.

Woodlands for Sale

Prior to about 2014, the wood was privately owned by a foreign investor and managed by Tillhill Forestry. The good management of the rides and the cyclical exploitation of the timber compartments with replanting with decidious trees was making the 'forest' a pleasant and diverse habitat. It was bought by Woodlands for Sale and small parcels are being sold off to private individuals with mixed ambitions for their piece of plantation. Efforts are being made to encourage ecologically sympathetic management though the increased disturbance as well as the traffic of vehicles into the plots is already making the 'forest' a poorer place for wildlife and traditional visitors.


The forest has become a great attraction for butterfly watchers since the sightings of fritillaries and especially the Purple Emperors. They are easily viewed (with good fortune and timing) from along the bridleways. From the bend in Laming Gap Lane, walk northwads (NNW) for about 500m to a staggered "crossroads" where the oak trees are a good place to see Purple Hairstreak. Walking eastwards from here to a "T" junction will take you along the favoured locations for nectaring White-letter Hairstreak and Silver-washed Fritiallary. Purple Emperors favour this ride too.

Turning left at the 'T' junction and left again at a 'crossroads' will take you on a round trip via Clipston on the Wolds back to the starting point. This walk is about four kilometres and is good for a variety of butterflies, birds and flora. After leaving Clipston (where there is a farm shop) you will pass beneath a high-voltage power line where the grassland is species rich and where Dark-green Fritillary was seen in 2011-2014 and where Purple Emperors and Silver-washed Fritillary were seen in 2017.

Other Information

Look out for Woodcock in the winter (they used to breed here) Marsh Tits and Crossbills, though the latter are by no means regular.

The Red Data Book moth, the Pauper Pug, has been recorded from a stand of lime trees.

NGR SK 641 329

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Cotgrave Forest
Cotgrave Forest from Clipston on the Wolds