Notts. Golf Club is committed to preserving the very special environment surrounding Hollinwell and, in general, the nation’s quest for a “greener” environment.
We pursue a sustainable course management system to maintain Notts as a fine example of the very best of British heathland courses.
We work very closely with Natural England, Heathland Trust and Notts Wildlife Trust to maintain our good environmental practices.
Not only do we carry out a number of environmental projects on the course, we have a number of projects around the main buildings that are very environmentally friendly.
Hot water and heating is provided by a Biomass Boiler System that is largely fuelled by careful management and harvesting of the surrounding woodland.
We have developed two reed filtration beds. One bed serves the machinery wash down area and the other gathers the run off waste water from the car park and club house. This provides an ecologically sound, inexpensive way of ‘cleaning’ the water before it enters the river system.
As a result of all the policies adopted at Notts, we have received many awards in recent years.
BIGGA 2003- Golf Environment Award
Midland e.s.w runner up
2003 Best New Initiative
2004 Midlands Winner
2005 Midlands Winner
2005 Best Environment Project
2006 Midlands Winner
2007 National Winner
2007 Nottingham Wildlife Best Environment Business Award
Eleven years ago, working closely with the Sherwood Forest Trust, we first successfully applied for a stewardship grant from ‘DEFRA’ (Now Natural England) and then began our Heathland Restoration Project. This involves the ongoing work program:
Tree Removal – large numbers of scrub birch were removed along with the thinning and then clearing of several pine plantations.
Bracken control has been instigated by crushing stems with a roller. This mechanical process almost totally eliminates the need for chemical treatment. This sits comfortably alongside our sensitivity to the natural environment.
Gorse is managed by cutting back to the old wood and then maintaining healthy young bushes by trimming every five to ten years.
Heather regeneration – At the onset of the project the heather (‘Ling’ or ‘Calluna Vulgaris’) was in decline, but has proved relatively easy to re-establish by cutting and collecting ‘heather brash’, clearing large areas of rough grass, and then spreading the heather seed over the bare ground. This practice has also extended to the areas where trees have been removed. The consequence of this policy has been a considerable increase in heather cover particularly with healthy young plants which we now maintain at varying heights for the benefit of the invertebrates.
Tree Seedlings/ Self set Birch and Oak – We have used a combination of methods to control self set trees;
b) Herbicide- ‘weed wiping’
Because we have cleared such extensive areas, we needed to find an efficient method of control and now work in conjunction with Nottingham Wildlife Trust to graze extensive areas of the out of play heathland with Hebridean Sheep (Black, horned and very hardy). The sheep eat the grass and self sets with enthusiasm and also trample the bracken. We have also made use of Dexter cattle which are particularly useful at crushing the Bracken. We are planning to introduce New Forest Ponies which are reported to be efficient grazers of gorse.
As we have progressed with the Heathland Restoration Project, we have used the opportunity to create habitat for wildlife. Unusually for Heathland, we are fortunate to have natural water on the course, including the ‘Hollinwell’ which feeds into the water course and flows down to Newstead Abbey. At the same time as building two new holes 8A and 9A, we have excavated new ponds and streams. A healthy stock of fish provide food for resident Kingfishers and occasional visits from Herons. We maintain a wide strip of vegetation around the ponds and are fortunate to have water vole on site.
In 2008 Notts acquired land bordering the 2nd, 3rd, 16th and 17th fairways from the Forestry Commission. The land is planted with Scots Pine and Cosican Pine. A twenty five year plan has been established to transform the forest from pine trees to deciduous woodland and heath in keeping with the rest of our land and the local Sherwood environment.
One great benefit of this project is that it will provide a quality habitat for local wildlife.
Notts Wildlife Trust
A number of projects have been undertaken working with the Notts Wildlife Trust to encourage Notts. Golf Club becoming a natural habitat for flora, fauna and wildlife.
The following projects have already been undertaken:
When constructing two new holes, new ponds were constructed and these have become rapidly established. The vegetation includes Marsh orchids and we have planted reeds which we hope will encourage nesting birds. Reed buntings have visited but as yet have not nested.
Apart from common frogs and toads, we have common lizards and many grass snakes including melanocytic variety.
In more remote areas we have used old quarries to build Hibernaculi, underground chambers for small mammals and insects. These are also used by reptiles and amphibians in the winter months.
In a larger quarry we have been able to encourage a population of Sand Martins. This was recently featured on Springwatch on BBC television