We take a ramble through the Ridge…
If you’re in search of a little patch of green in the (greater) Beeston area, maybe it’s worth looking just across the A52 to a little known piece of land called Bramcote Ridge or the Alexandrina Plantation. The two linked plots are an elongated area between Wollaton, Bramcote and Lenton Abbey and can be best approached from Thoresby Road, as you head away from Bramcote shops. The ‘open space’ is about 12 acres: “a mosaic of acid grassland, naturally regenerating scrub and mature woodland which, through lack of appropriate management in the recent past, has developed into the attractive semi-wild area” you’ll find when you visit. Part of the space is privately owned and the rest belongs to Broxtowe Borough Council but despite this mixed ownership the public has unrestricted access.
The history of the site is a bit vague: Bramcote generally was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1771 and the land put to unknown agricultural use. The westernmost section of the Ridge was planted with trees between 1836 and 1880, possibly to celebrate the marriage of the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra in 1863 – hence this woodland is known as the Alexandrina Plantation. Many of the older trees were coppiced, probably during the Second World War when fuel was scarce. The Sandy Lane Bridleway runs along the eastern edge on the original Nottingham City boundary and this used to be the only way from the main Nottingham/Derby Road (A52) to the village of Wollaton. Remnants of hedgerow and even an old boundary marker from 1933 can be found. There is broom scrub on the site, reminding us that ‘Bramcote’ derives from ‘cottages in the broom’ which indicates what our Anglo-Saxon forebears found when they arrived!
The site has 85 species of wild flowers, 20 species of trees and shrubs, 20 species of grass and 3 species of ferns; 40 species of bird have at one time or another been spotted here.
As residential development increased this area came to be seen as a valuable amenity and in 1975 Broxtowe BC designated the whole of the Ridge as an ‘Area of Restricted Development’ ensuring its survival as a wild area, valuable both for residents and wildlife, up to the present and, we hope, beyond.
Environmentalists especially will be pleased to know that the site has 85 species of wild flowers, 20 species of trees and shrubs, 20 species of grass and 3 species of ferns; 40 species of bird have at one time or another been spotted here. Common woodland mammals such as fox, grey squirrel, hedgehog and the occasional badger inhabit or visit.
If YOU fancy a visit, there are a number of access points and it might be worth going to the Friends of Bramcote Ridge website http://www.bramcote-ridge.org.uk/ridge to check these out. If approaching from Thorseby Road, don’t park on the road itself as you’ll restrict traffic – there is limited parking on side roads.
Before we go, we must give a ‘shout out’ to those ‘Friends’ who have frequently won Green Flag awards. They are an intrepid band of volunteers who clear and plant to keep this site as an amenity for the rest of us – and a little haven for wildlife: good on yer!