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16 hidden gem green spaces to explore in Nottinghamshire this weekend

From waterways to woodlands and wide open spaces, there’s bound to be a spot you’ve not been to yet.

Iremongers Pond, Wilford



A view of Iremongers Pond in Nottingham. Iremongers Pond in Wilford.

This tranquil spot is often a surprise for those discovering it for the first time. Tucked away just a stone’s throw from Wilford village, the pond and surrounding paths and nature reserve are known to be visiting spots for a range of bird life. Fishermen also dot the large pond and the water is known to be home to turtles. The surrounding paths provide a quiet walk that feels a million miles away from the nearby roads.

Wilford claypit nature reserve, Compton Acres

This is a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust owned reserve which is slightly in the shadow of some of our better known reserves. But, it’s actually a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the plant species which make it home. These are mainly, bee orchid, yellow wort and yellow rattle. It’s a haven away from the bustle of the local area, with 4 hectares of land, wetland and grassland. Visitors might be lucky enough to spot Smooth Newts, Emperor Dragonflies, frogs and toads.

Bunny Old Wood, Bunny Hill

This beautiful old wood is officially ancient and has a magical feel. It was referred to in the domes day book and it’s thought it was probably used by Saxon settlers as a source of wood. 50 bird species have been recorded here including Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. Tree species include Coppiced Ash and Field Maple. A carpet of bluebells flower here in spring. Parking can be very limited on the hill which houses its entrance. A signed path helps with a family walk.

The Netherfield lagoons, Stoke Bardolph



The spectacular sighting of a murmuration at the Netherfield Lagoons

The Netherfield Lagoons is a nature reserve situated on the Trent Valley Flood Plains. Comprising The Slurry Lagoon, The Deep Pit and The Gravel Pits. The two slurry pits are separated by a raised causeway which gives a stunning view of the area and the watery surroundings make for a tranquil escape. The area is popular with bird watchers and is a good place to see starling murmurations in autumn and winter.

Dewberry Hill, Radcliffe-on-Trent

Set back behind the A52 and edged by housing on one side and Radcliffe on Trent golf club on the other, Dewberry Hill is a lovely green space to escape to. The entrance sits on Cropwell Road and leads to an open space of heath and wood, with a clear path around the outskirts and trails through the wooded areas. There is also an entrance to the site from Woodland Close, Radcliffe on Trent. The area is known locally as offering stunning views across Nottinghamshire and as a great spot to watch the sunset.

Vicar Water Country Park, just outside Clipstone



Vicar Water Park in Clipstone.

This picturesque green flag award winning space has a long and varied history. With three marked trails it’s a great spot for blowing away the cobwebs at any time of year. It’s an accredited country park which provides great space for cycling, fishing and dog walking among other activities.

Thieves Wood, near Mansfield



Entrance to Thieves Wood near Mansfield

A stunning forest area with flat walking trail. Forming part of the Robin Hood trail that runs through Nottinghamshire, Thieves Wood offers secluded picnic areas under the trees. The White Trail is a short, circular walk, perfect for autumn. Take in the golden tones of the larch trees nestled among the giant pines.

Skylarks nature reserve, Adbolton Lane, Holmepierrepont



Skylarks Nature Reserve
Skylarks Nature Reserve

While lovers of this area might know the water sports centre and it’s surrounding green space, the nature reserve which covers a wider area and leads into quiet wooded areas and lakeside bird watching spots, is lesser known. There are four walking trails and the site is accessible to wheelchair users – in fact, created in 1982 it’s thought to be one of the first to have been created specifically for wheelchair users. There are trails for all, including a two mile footpath linking viewing screens and board-walks, situated at prime locations around the site, allowing fantastic views and access to lakes, woodlands, ponds, reed beds, meadows, scrapes and islands.

Dob Park, Hucknall

Dob Park is a 20 hectare green space, just off Hucknall Bypass. A haven away from the bustle of city life. This lovely part of Nottingham provides the chance for a contemplative stroll by the stream. Look out for the wildlife among the wetlands and walk the paths that gives links into the wider countryside.

Hemlock stone, Bramcote



Hemlock Stone at Stapleford Hill

Visitors to this area might be familiar with the lovely landscape and woodland of Bramcote Park. But a walk across the road reveals Hemlock Stone and a peaceful circular walk. Cross the road footpath signs through the gate and up the hill where you’ll find the Hemlock Stone, a 200 million year old piece of sandstone from the Triassic Period. There are lots of theories as to how it got there and information by the stone reveals more about the history. Further footpath signs will take you to the edge of Stapleford Hill and down into surrounding fields.

Dukes Wood, Eakring Lane, Eakring



One of the original oilfield pumps – or ‘nodding donkeys’ – along the Dukes Wood trail

This area was the location of the UK’s first onshore oilfield and is now a 20-acre reserve that is a mixed deciduous woodland/industrial archaeological site. The wood is dominated by oak, ash, hazel and birch and there is a wide range of interesting ground flora. Some of the old oilfield pumps have been restored and can be found around the edge of the woodland.

Holme Pit Clifton

Holme Pit offers a slice of wildlife in the city and is another Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is a large manmade pond surrounded with reeds and wetland areas. The area is home to an array of birds and known to be a good spot for breeding, as well as a favoured stop off point for travelling birds.

Cranfleet Lock, Erewash Valley Trail, Long Eaton

A tranquil spot to wander the canal path or sit and take in the scenery or watch the activity on the water. Part of Trent Lock area, this is a nice spot to head to for those looking to rest and unwind.

Bulwell Forest Garden, Austin Street, Bulwell

A little oasis tucked away from the clamour of the surrounding town. This is a community space to learn about nature, growing food and caring for the land. The garden opened in July 2012 on an unloved, disused piece of land that has blossomed into a haven of nature, family activities and education. The garden has specific opening time so check online. For weekend explorers the garden is only open on Saturdays 1pm-4pm.

Lowdham Playing Fields and Park, Lowdham

While the fields and park offer a great space to play sport, take a picnic and be outdoors, those who like a bit of exploring will also find a small river area, bridge and tree swing tucked away nearby.

Martin’s Pond, Russell Avenue, Wollaton



Martin’s Pond nature reserve in Wollaton

A lesser known but tranquil spot in Wollaton, the pond would once have been a fishing spot as part of the original Wollaton Hall. It’s now a hidden gem nature reserve. It’s almost four hectares in size but hidden by surrounding homes. The pond and the park’s lake are still connected by an overflow drain, added back in 1790, which breathes life into the reserve. It used to be known as the ‘fish pond’, in the 1950s but appeared on a map as Martin’s Pond, possibly named after Mr Martin, who had farmed the area prior to the construction of the surrounding houses.