Barn Owl Tyto alba ©Steve Blain Website

Nottinghamshire recording area is coterminous with the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire  (often abbreviated to Notts – area 56 in the Watsonian scheme) in the East Midlands of England. The county borders South Yorkshire to the northwest, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The county has an area of 2,160 km2 (830 square miles) and a population of over 1,150,000 people.  The largest settlement is the city of Nottingham; it and the surrounding urban area in the southwest contains nearly three-quarters of a million people. The northeast of the county is less populous but does contain the towns of Worksop and Newark-on-Trent.

Nottinghamshire, like Derbyshire, and South Yorkshire, has extensive coal seams up to 900 metres thick occurring largely in the north of the county. These are overlaid by sandstones and limestones in the west, and clay in the east. The north of the county is part of the Humberhead Levels – a plain with lots of lakes. The centre and south west of the county features undulating hills with ancient oak woodland.

The geography of the area is largely defined by the River Trent, which forms a wide valley which crosses the county from the southwest to the northeast. North of this, in the centre of the county, is Sherwood Forest, the remnant of a large ancient woodland. Nottinghamshire’s other rivers are the Idle, Erewash, and Soar; they all feed into the Trent and are composed of many streams from Sherwood Forest, run through wide and flat valleys, merging at Misterton. The highest point in Nottinghamshire is 673 feet above sea-level while Silverhill, a spoil heap left by the former Silverhill colliery, a man-made point often cited as the highest, reaches 669 feet. The lowest is Peat Carr, east of Blaxton, at sea level; the Trent is tidal below Cromwell Lock. Sheltered by the Pennines to the west the county receives relatively low rainfall. Nottinghamshire contains one green belt area completely encircling the Nottingham conurbation, it stretches for several miles into the surrounding districts, and extends into Derbyshire.

Birding Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire has an uncanny knack of turning up the unexpected as witnessed by some UK firsts such as Egyptian Nightjar, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dusky Thrush and Redhead.

The birding habitats vary from the Trent Valley with its numerous gravel pits to extensive woodland estates, some of which have no access at all! There is remnant heathland running patchily up the spine of the county, a stronghold for Nightjar, Woodlark and other heathland birds. Not only is one of the highest points a pit top, but equally man-made are the unpleasant prairies of modern farming in the northeast.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has many reserves, large and small, from Attenborough in the south to Lound in the north.

Special birds include Honey Buzzard breeding in summer and lots of wildfowl over wintering.

Top Sites
  • *Notts County Site Guide

  • Clipstone Forest

    InformationSatellite View
    is an area of extensive conifer and broad-leaved plantations and heaths and host all the expected species. Good access through a network of trails.
  • Colwick/Netherfield/Holme Pierrepont

    InformationSatellite View
    The close proximity of three large sites means that they probably have the longest list of species in thecounty. County additions have included Bufflehead, Yellow-browed Warbler, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and Long-tailed Skua.
  • Forest Country

    Satellite View
    Clumber lies at the centre of a number of sites which include Welbeck, Thoresby and Rufford. At Welbeck, there is a raptor watchpoint (SK580721) and is as good as any in England with Honey Buzzard, Goshawk and Osprey viewable over the private and well protected woodland. Clumber has all the woodland birds, noteably Hawfinch in winter.
  • Hoveringham

    Satellite View
    As big as Lound but more water dominated. A good site at any time of year with a large winter gull roost. The UK's first Redhead occurred here on a pit which is part of the complex.
  • Idle Valley Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    The site formerly refered to as Lound used to consist of lots of gravel workings surrounded by arable fields and copses. Things have changed here and after over 50 years of gravel extraction and restoration work mainly by Tarmac quarries Ltd. The whole area is a new SSSI NR. Tarmac in consultation with Notts Wildlife Trust have worked to restore the area as a predominantly wetland reserve. The whole area from the town of Retford, going North up to and beyond Lound village, on the west bank and adjacent to the river Idle has been almost compleetly restored and is the new Idle Valley NR. Most of the old Lound gravel pits complex is now part of an SSSI, which is in turn a large part of the new and enlarged IVNR you see today. The reserve is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The work on the reserve is suported by lottery funding. NWT also share a brand new eco friendly visitor centre at the Retford end of the reserve with the North Notts College. The first really notable bird for the new reserve was a Steppe Grey Shrike…
  • Langford/Besthorpe/Girton

    Satellite View
    Langford is the site of a proposed RSPB reserve and is attracting good numbers of waders. Besthorpe had seen better days but is currently (2011) undergoing a facelift with a new hide and scrape, while Girton is still working. All three sites are worth birding and often attract county rarities.
  • Mission Carr Nature Reserve [The Carrs]

    WebpageSatellite View
    consists of lowland farmland, ditches and river. In Winter its good for swans and raptors; on passage Dotterel are a highlight some years, and, in summer there are lots of Corn Buntings.
  • Mark Dennis

    Montreal |

County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 326

    County Bird - Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Useful Reading

  • The Birds of Nottinghamshire

    | By Nick Crouch, jason Reece, Bernie Ellis, Chris de Feu & David Parkin | Liverpool University Press | 2019 | Hardback | 594 pages, 300 colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9781789620092 Buy this book from
  • Where to watch birds in the East Midlands

    | By Rob Fray | Christopher Helm | 2006 | Paperback | 320 pages, 33 line illustrations, 62 maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780713675306 Buy this book from
  • Gedling Conservation Trust

    The Trust was set up in 2005 to take over the ownership of the Netherfield Lagoons, Nottinghamshire from UK Coal, after they became redundant with the closure of Gedling Pit. The Trust then applied to English Nature to have the site designated as a Local Nature Reserve, so that its importance as a wildlife conservation site would be acknowledged and by-laws could be set up to protect it.
  • Lound Bird Club

    Striving to record, monitor and conserve birds & wildlife found on the Sutton & Lound GP's SSSI (Idle Valley NR) since 1990.
  • Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers

    The Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers is a registered charity with membership open to all. The society aims to promote an interest in birds in Nottinghamshire. We are a friendly group for anybody interested in wild birds, living in, or visiting, Nottinghamshire, irrespective of their level of knowledge, experience or skill. Also see their Facebook page.
  • Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

    Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is the county's leading conservation charity run by local people for the benefit of local wildlife, with 67 nature reserves - part of a UK network of 47 local Wildlife Trusts working to protect wildlife.
  • RSPB Mansfield Local Group

    The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. We have regular monthly indoor meetings, on the first Wednesday of the month, locally throughout the year and have occasional day-trips to local nature reserves.
  • RSPB Nottinghamshire Members Group

    The Nottingham group aims to introduce new members to the RSPB to help support its conservation work and to share enthusiasm for wildlife.
  • Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project

    The Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project (RuBOP) was founded in 1996 by Clive James. Its aims are to conserve and increase the population of Barn Owls in Rushcliffe - 400 square kilometres of south Nottinghamshire.
  • Wollaton Natural History Society

    The Society exists to promote the study and appreciation of the natural world by arranging regular illustrated talks, guided walks, recording and publications.

Abbreviations Key

  • *NWT Nature Reserves

    WebpageSatellite View
  • CP Wollaton Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The main attraction in winter is the visiting wildfowl and the flocks of finches and thrushes. Several different ducks may be seen on the lake at this time including wigeon, gadwall, pochard and the odd shoveler. The new year sometimes brings more interesting species such as smew and goosander and in harsher weather goldeneye…
  • LNR Attenborough Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    An award winning eco-friendly visitor attraction surrounded by the tranquil waters of the beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve. Situated within easy reach of Nottingham and Derby. Barton Lane, Attenborough NG9 6DY…
  • LNR Bunny Old Wood

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    Bunny Old Wood is one of the oldest natural features of the South Nottinghamshire landscape - the north-facing slope is likely to have been tree-covered for over 10,000 years. A great place to visit, especially in spring and summer when you'll see many colourful ancient woodland flowers such as bluebell, wood anemone and yellow archangel.
  • LNR Daneshill Lakes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Daneshill Lakes is a former gravel extraction area which has now been carefully restored to benefit wildlife. The gravel pits themselves have been flooded to create an open water habitat surrounded by willow woodland. Many wild flowers also grow here, attracting butterflies such as brimstone, common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper and ringlet.
  • LNR Idle Valley

    WebpageSatellite View
    This spectacular wetland site covers an area of 450 hectares following the River Idle northwards. The size of 600 football pitches, it is one of the largest sites for nature conservation in the East Midlands. The acquisition of the site is supported by a grant from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • LNR King's Mill Reservoir

    WebsiteSatellite View
    King's Mill Reservoir is a medium-sized reservoir sandwiched between the towns of Sutton in Ashfield & Mansfield in west Nottinghamshire. It covers approximately 70 acres (28ha) and is maintained naturally by the River Maun. Most of the edge of the reservoir is vegetated with trees and scrub, predominantly willow but also ash, birch, popular, oak and sycamore. Patches of Phragmites and reedmace can also be found in several areas. In close proximity to the reservoir are a number of paddocks and areas of arable land, although these have been significantly reduced recently with the construction of the new (unwanted and waste of time) A617 bypass!
  • LNR Mission Carr

    WebpageSatellite View
    In 2001 the former Misson Training Area in North Nottinghamshire became the Misson Carr SSSI Nature Reserve when the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust purchased it from the Ministry of Defence. This fascinating nature reserve contains a variety of habitats including nationally rare wet woodlands, marsh, and old grazing pastures. It also has the county’s largest remaining fragment of a fenland system that once covered much of the local landscape, but which has been progressively lost to drainage and agriculture over the last three hundred years.
  • LNR Skylarks Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Skylarks Nature Reserve is an attractive wetland nature reserve owned by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. We created this green space back in 1982, specifically designing it so that wheelchair users can easily access the site - this was the first accessible nature reserve in the UK! In 2014 we successfully purchased a further 36ha of land and water to the south of Adbolton Lane, creating the largest nature reserve in Rushcliffe.
  • LNR Tippings Wood

    WebpageSatellite View
    ...a variety of other habitats, including wetlands and grasslands on a former colliery spoil tip...
  • NNR Sherwood Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    A new visitor centre opened in 2018, managed by the RSPB and their partners on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, heralding a new era for the forest and its very special collection of ancient oak trees and wildlife.
  • RSPB Langford Lowfields

    WebpageSatellite View
    Langford Lowfields is still, in part, a working quarry. Therefore, there is strictly no access beyond fence boundaries within the reserve. We’re working in partnership with Tarmac to restore a sand and gravel quarry on the River Trent into the biggest reedbed in the East Midlands. The habitats are developing rapidly, with 40 hectares of reedbed now planted, wildflower-rich meadows surrounding the wetland and a three-hectare mature woodland.
  • RSPB Sherwood Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    Once a royal hunting ground, Sherwood is full of ancient oaks that have stood tall for over 500 years. One of the most magnificent is the Major Oak. Thought to be 1,000 years old, it was once the favourite hideout of Sherwood Forest’s most famous resident — Robin Hood.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers Sightings

    This page will be updated on a daily basis, to provide a convenient news service to scarce & rare birds found within the County Nottinghamshire.
  • Nottsbirdsnews

    Mailing List
    Welcome to everyone with an interest in birdwatching in the county of Nottinghamshire.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • New Horizons Tours

    Tour Operator
    Widen your Birdwatching and wildlife experiences with me, Christopher Hall of New Horizons.
Places to Stay
  • Browns B&B

    The award winning" Browns," was established in 1990. We are the only 5 Star Gold Award, with Visit England in North Nottinghamshire, and also 5 Gold Star Award with The AA, and have Mobility Level 1 with NAS. Since 2008 we have been included in The Michelin Guide...
Other Links
  • Notts Birdwatchers

    Twitter Website
    Bird news, events and sightings for Nottinghamshire. The only official Twitter account for Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers.
  • Species Action Plan - Barn Owl

    Working together to conserve and enhance the wildlife of Nottinghamshire
  • The Birds of Barton in Fabis and Clifton

    Since moving to Clifton in 1995 I have been using the grove area as my local birding patch and try to visit the area at least twice a week more if possible. To say that this area is underwatched by birders is a understatment i have only seen a handful of other birders in eight years of birding in this area. Good birds have been found at this site but only with a lot of dedication and time seaching the various woods, fields and ponds…
  • Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Mike Warren

    Early paintings contained very decorative backgrounds to the bird subject. This emphasis has gradually given way a greater realism while retaining a strong design element. Pictures are painted with acrylics or watercolours on pure rag paper
  • Bird Carver - The Bird Whittler

    Glyn is a professional bird whittler, and has extensively studied birds in their natural habitats. Each individual edition songbird is whittled from a block of lime, using only a knife. They are then hand painted with acrylics
  • Jon Ward's Wildlife Photography

    Welcome to my Wildlife photography page, I'll be adding my favourite photos from around Nottingham.
  • Nottinghamshire Wildlife Photographic Society


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