The flora and fauna of Fineshade
For many visitors, Fineshade Wood is known as the home of the East Midlands Red Kite project because of the previous RSPB presence at Top Lodge. People remember with affection the way in which the big barn was used to house a large screen with live coverage from a Red Kite nest. In fact the re-introduction was not carried out at Fineshade but rather at a site some 10 miles away to the south and the birds first bred in that area. However, Fineshade quickly became a good place to see the magnificent birds, and you would be unlucky not to see or hear one during a visit, either in winter or in summer.
Deer can often be seen by the quiet visitor, with large herds of elegant Fallow Deer moving through the woods, as elsewhere in the region. On the other hand, the rather ugly Muntjac deer are more solitary but widespread in the wood. Deer cause great damage to young trees and crops and their numbers have to be controlled, so FC wildlife rangers have always needed to cull them, often using the so called "high seats" as vantage points from which to shoot.
Although kites and deer are often seen by the casual visitor, Fineshade’s wildlife richness is generally more difficult to appreciate. There is one of the most important populations of reptiles (particularly Adders) in eastern England and if you are lucky you may get a glimpse during a warm spring day.
Other elusive wildlife includes dormice, populations of bats, a very healthy badger population, locally scarce species of birds, rare butterflies and moths, glow worms, rare and worthy plants, fungi and trees. During surveys carried out by Forest Holidays, all sorts of unexpected and valued wildlife were discovered here.
With the help of local experts, we are developing this part of the website to document and describe Fineshade’s natural richness and to encourage Natural England to designate the wood as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Back from the Brink Roots of Rockingham project
Although SSSI status is still pending, English Nature, along with Butterfly Conservation and other wildlife organisations are basing part of the important Back from the Brink Project here from 2017 to 2021. The extinct-in-England Chequered Skipper butterfly is being re-introduced here and habitat management carried out for a range of other threatened species. You can read more about this exciting project here.