Old Sulehay, on the Northamptonshire/Peterborough border is a very special area of ancient woodland and limestone grassland full of flowers insects and animals, both common and scarce.
The Oolitic limestone in north Northamptonshire and Peterborough lies on the Lincolnshire limestone. With considerable ancient woodland remaining on the boulder clay areas, it is a landscape with a high concentration of sites that are already important for wildlife and is one of the few areas where a diverse mosaic of wildlife rich habitats occur next to each other. The Trust’s ultimate vision is to link 18 SSSI/NNR/CWS sites totalling 400 hectares of which this is one.
To this end Restore Our Planet’s donation was used specifically for the purchase of 3 adjoining areas: Ring Haw, Nassington Gullet and associated arable farmland in all totalling 39 hectares.
Following the purchase, two arable fields were restored to limestone grasslandusing green hay from nearby species-rich grassland. This has been incredibly succesful and the fields are now managed by grazing using the Wildlife Trust’s own Highland cattle.
The site is regularly visited by botanists both local and further afield.
Nassington Gullet supports a range of plants associated with more open, disturbed habitats. It is managed partly mechanically, cut with a tractor, and by sheep and cattle grazing.
The Ring Haw site includes an old quarry office used by the Wildlife Trust for delivering a range of training events, from general ecological skills through to invertebrate identification.
Highland Cattle at Nassingtons Bottom. Photo © Ian Hilbert
Vipers Bugloss at Old Sulehay. Photo © Ian Hilbert
Cowslips at Old Sulehay. Photo: © BCN