Covid-19 January Update

We would like to reassure our park visitors that your health and safety is of utmost importance.

We have had to make some decisions in the best interest of our visitors and staff.

  • Sherwood Heath is open
  • Our volunteer working groups are starting to work again following strict Covid-19 safety guidance 
  • Spring Forest Schools and other park events have been cancelled

We believe these are the most responsible decisions to make at this time. We will continue to monitor this developing situation and share updates as soon as they are available via our website and social media channels.

In line with Government guidance

  • if you have a high temperature, or new continuous cough, please postpone your visit to the heath and stay at home for 14 days
  • Please also ensure that you practice good hand hygiene
  • Stay 2m apart from one another and be considerate of others
  • Please do not visit the heath in groups. You are allowed to exercise within your household or bubble 
  • No team games or large groups activities
  • Use the heath and open space responsibly for your daily exercise

Please do not drop litter or let your dog foul on the heath - it is more important now than ever to use the bins provided and not spread germs and diseases.

Site of Special Scientific Interest

Sherwood Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Located near Ollerton, Sherwood Heath is open daily for the public to enjoy. The heath is fantastic to visit in summer when bell and ling heather flowers create a haze of purples next to the vibrant yellow of gorse.

The site is home to a variety of wildlife including yellowhammer, linnets, nightjar, woodlark, glow worms, 7 species of bat and numerous species of butterflies and moths.

It is a Green Flag awarded park.

Management of the heath

Colourful Friends of Sherwood Heath Shield depicting plants and animals on the heathThe Heath is part of the Birklands and Bilhaugh Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Local Nature Reserve. It is owned by the Thoresby Estate, leased to Newark and Sherwood District Council and managed by the Sherwood Forest Trust. 

The Friends of Sherwood Heath volunteer group is very active in the care and management of the heath.

Cockglode Wood has ancient origins, being a remnant of the woodland that covered the area long before it became the Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood.

Rotary Wood is the exact opposite. The native trees were planted on the restored spoil tip of Thoresby Colliery in 1998 to 1999 to celebrate the Millennium.

The heath is a remnant of the heathland of the ancient Sherwood Forest, on which the flora and fauna typical of heathland have, until recently, been in decline.  It has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve so that it can be preserved and managed in such a way as to bring back heather and the other plants of traditional heathland, and their associated animals, especially invertebrates.

Habitats and wildlife

Heather and grasses

Heathland is an area where heather species grow – in Sherwood Forest they are ling (a local variety is hairy ling), bell heather, and in wetter areas, cross-leaved heath.

In Nottinghamshire acid grassland and/or bracken dominate most heathland. Typical grasses are wavy hair grass, sheep’s fescue, and matt grass, with herbs such as harebell, heath bedstraw, and tormentil. 

Gorse is usually present. Lichens and mosses are also important.

Why is heathland important?

Heathland is important because it is the only habitat for certain species and the preferred habitat for others. Many of the plants and animals that live there have evolved over thousands of years, have specialised to suit that habitat, and are not suited to life elsewhere.

Animals and wildlife

There are small mammals that live on Sherwood Heath, such as the stoat and the mice and voles that are its prey. 

There are birds too, but the most important animals on Sherwood Heath are harder to see.  They are invertebrates – small creatures without skeletons, such as insects, spiders, snails and worms. 

Some of the interesting insects at Sherwood Heath are:

  • The green tiger beetle (Cicindela campestris) is one of the most attractive and easily recognised beetles
  • The Nationally Notable longhorn beetle (Strangalia quadrifasciata) is found in fallen logs
  • 60 species of moth have been identified, including the Nationally Notable angle-striped sallow moth (Enargia paleacea).
  • The hornet (Vespa crabro) is found in Sherwood and often uses bird and bat boxes to build its nest.
  • Anthills are an important feature of the flat areas of the heath near the Visitor Centre.

Two declining bird species that may be seen on Sherwood Heath are the skylark and the barn owl.  Some other birds seen are kestrel, sparrow hawk, green woodpecker, and yellowhammer.  Some nationally scarce birds we hope to attract are the nightjar, the woodlark and the hobby.

The common lizard is the only reptile seen regularly on the heath.

Forest school

Available in our parks in Newark, Clipstone and Ollerton

Book places for our new outdoor learning programme with park rangers George and Matt.

Sherwood Heath events 2020

Our regular events include bird walks, guided walks, children's holiday activities and an annual fun day.

Please contact us if you wish to join one of the following 'friends' walks as we need to keep a strict eye on numbers.

  • Saturday 19 December 10am - winter bird walk with Mark from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (Friends of Sherwood Heath)

Follow our Facebook account to find out about our events and join in the conversation!

Like us on Facebook 


Based in west Nottinghamshire? Want to meet new people, keep fit, help to conserve and enhance your local country park whilst having fun? Then why not join the Newark and Sherwood Western Reserves Volunteers? No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm!

Tasks will vary from scrub bashing, fencing, visitor surveys, repairing footpaths, woodland thinning and habitat surveying so there is something for everyone! You will get the chance to work at Vicar Water Country Park and Intake Wood in Clipstone and Sherwood Heath in Ollerton.

Full training and tools will be provided but please bring suitable old outdoor clothing and stout footwear. Any hours and days that you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

For more information please contact Park Ranger Matt Smith via email: or via telephone on 07779 327 471.

Helping hedgehogs in the autumn

Before a hedgehog goes into hibernation they need lots of food in order to store fat, this is why it’s important to carry on providing a shallow dish of food and water for hogs in your garden. You can buy hedgehog food or use meat-based cat or dog food. However not bread or milk.

Also at this time of year is very important to check bonfires. Either dismantle and rebuild the fire just before lighting or light it the same day as you build it.

Try not to be too tidy in your garden and retain twigs and leaves in a quiet corner at the back of a border. Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest. Check compost heaps for nesting hogs before forking over.

Why not buy or build a hedgehog house. This five star hedgehog accommodation was built by Emma Gilbert from Newark.

If you see a hedgehog during the day and have doubts about its wellbeing contact Tiggywinkles or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Both websites have lots of information about helping hedgehogs in trouble

Hedgehog house created by Emma Gilbert from Newark

Friends of Sherwood Heath

The Friends of Sherwood Heath volunteer group is involved in helping us to look after the park. The group meets regularly and welcomes new members. Visit the Friends of Sherwood Heath Facebook page and get involved.

Like us on Facebook

Miner 2 Major

Miner to Major is an exciting five-year land management project (2019 to 2023) supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The scheme is delivering a range of projects that celebrate and help protect the diverse wildlife, important habitats and rich heritage of Sherwood Forest.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with volunteering, have-a-go activities, restoring natural habitats, monitoring threatened species, planting hedges and trees, improving walking tails, free training and up-skilling courses, surveying historic buildings, learning traditional crafts and learning about local legends and heroes.

There are opportunities to take part in activities at locations including Rainworth Heath, Budby Forest, Sherwood Forest, Vicar Water Country Park, Intake Wood and Sherwood Heath.

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Environmental education

The park is available for use for environmental education and conservation projects.

Please get in touch with Park Ranger Matt Smith 07779 327 471 or email:

How to find us



Sky lantern and balloon release ban

Sky lanterns and helium balloon releases are now banned in our council parks.

The decision has been made due to concerns about the environmental impact of the balloons and risk to the public and animals.

Help us to protect the park

Help us prevent fire, litter and wildlife damage.

BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are not permitted in the park.

BBQ's, campfires and fireworks are NOT permitted in the park

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