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The Renewal Trust

Nature and Conservation

St Ann’s green space has persisted in a lightly managed state for centuries providing an abundance of shelter, food and nesting opportunities and, as a result, it's an oasis for wildlife. Habitats include gardens, woodland, wildflower meadows, ponds, scrub and coppices. Approximately 13 acres of the site is managed as wildlife areas and uncultivated buffer zones around the periphery of the site enable a diverse range of wildlife to thrive in an otherwise urban area.

The site has received recognition for its huge diversity of fruit trees, mostly in tenanted plots but some in communal or conservation areas. Mature fruit trees such as apple and pear are regarded as special trees not only in that they provide habitat diversity to the site but also that they are an important element of the heritage of the allotments. There are a significant number of mature fruit trees on site (1,426 currently recorded covering cherry, apple, pear, damson plum, apricot, mulberry, fig, greengage, crab apple, kiwi, medlar, olive, quince and walnut).

A hedge in the progress of being laid at the allotments
A hedge in the progress of being laid at the allotments

The most prominent feature of the allotments is the network of hedges dominated by hawthorn but composed of a range of species, structures and ages. These hedges are important for nesting birds and invertebrates. There are also numerous wildlife plots which have been colonised by vegetation in varying stages of succession from grasses and ruderals through to mature scrub and secondary woodland. The plots with well-established vegetation provide sheltering and foraging resources for a wide range of animal species. 

Over 59 types of bird have been spotted at the site, including species on red and amber lists of high conservation concern in the UK, as well as 104 species of moth, 18 butterfly species, 9 types of damselflies and dragonfly and 222 different plant species (excluding trees and shrubs). The management of the designated wildlife areas and hedge planting is sympathetic to the continued support of the six key species identified at the start of the restoration project, including bullfinch, song thrush, smooth newt, midland hawthorn, lady fern and currant clearwing moth, which have made a comeback at the allotments after not being seen in Nottinghamshire for 100 years.