KEYWORTH MEADOW NATURE RESERVE
The meadow consists of two open grassy areas, the larger (main meadow) of about 1.2 hectares is mown once a year and is bounded by a regularly mown path, and a smaller one of about 0.3 hectares which has not been mown for at least 15 years.
Six main habitats exist: meadow, hedgerow, scrub, marsh and open water, ephemeral ponds and the brook. Each habitat has its own characteristic collection of plants and insects.
Although small, totalling only 7,300 square metres there is much variety of sight, sound, smell and touch; the colours of the leaves and flowers, the shapes of the twigs and trunks, the movement of mice and midges, the stillness of the ponds, the singing and chirruping of the often unseen birds, the perfume of the Meadowsweet and Water Mint and the textures of the rough-stemmed reeds and the smooth-faced fungi.
The Reserve was established in 1985 as a Conservation Area by the Parish Council; when two acres of rough grazing land was exchanged, with the co-operation of local landowner, Mr. Twidale, for the nearby Stonepits which had been owned by the Parish for some two hundred years.
In 1992, with the foundation of a Management Committee, the area was officially designated a Nature Reserve, with the policy of retaining the characteristics of a late 19th century meadow, the intention was, and still is, to provide the people of Keyworth with a place for a family picnic or for quiet contemplation in a peaceful, attractive relict of the past.
For the scientifically minded, there are some 300 species of plants, insects, birds and animals in an 'island site with wildlife corridors' (i.e. surrounded by cultivated fields but with hedgerows and the brook leading to other wild areas).
Geologically, the site is on the fringe of the Mercia Mudstone escarpment that forms the bulk of the Keyworth Wolds. The meadow itself is alluvial clay, silt and gravel. The meadow must have been very marshy in the past as the meanders testify. It seems likely that the straight section of brook alongside the meadow was man-made but it has been like this since prior to the inclosure award in 1798.
The amenity of the meadow is maintained by a small group of wardens who are supported by occasional groups of volunteer workers for the necessary 'hedging and ditching' that would have been done originally by the Victorian farm workers. The wardens visit regularly to make observations and a record is kept of species seen.
If you would like to help, please contact the Parish office;
Telephone 0115 937 2185
How to get there:
From Keyworth Square, head south along Main Street towards Wysall, at the sharp bend, carry straight on, down Lings Lane and past the riding stables. There are finger posts to help guide you. At the fork, keep right for about a kilometre, the entrance gate, stile and notice are on the right.
It is a pleasant walk along the lane, past the Ash Grove and Thelwell Copse, although muddy after wet weather.
What to look for:
In Spring; bright yellow Celandine, lilac Cuckoo Flower and the song of Willow Warblers.
In Summer; the variety of grasses, striking Yellow Iris, Large Skipper butterflies and the perfume of creamy Meadowsweet. Listen our for the purring of Turtle Doves.
In Autumn; the luscious hues of blackberries, rosehips and elderberries.
In Winter; toadstools amongst the damp grass and wintering Fieldfares and Redwings from Scandinavia as well as the resident finches and tits.