Lollycocks Field Local Nature Reserve
Lollycocks Field is owned by North Kesteven District Council and was declared as a 5.47acre Local Nature Reserve in 1993. It is situated on the Eastern side of Sleaford within an attractive green corridor formed by the River Slea. It is complemented by the nearby “Nettles” green space for outdoor art. The field was formerly used for a short period of potato growing in the 1950s, visiting fairgrounds and horse grazing.
Today the site has developed into a mosaic of rough semi-improved neutral and damp grassland, wetland including pond, scrape and fen with small areas of planted woodland and scrub. It is managed by Hill Holt Wood with the aim of maintaining public access to an attractive green space for quiet recreation and nature as well as conserving the broad range of biodiversity found on a relatively small urban site.
This is achieved through sympathetic mowing of grassed footpaths, verges and seating areas. Managing grassland as meadow allowing grasses and wildflowers to grow and set seed, cutting annually on a rotational basis and removing the cuttings to reduce further nutrient enrichment. Some areas are left uncut to provide undisturbed habitat for small mammals and amphibians where grass and wildflower seed heads also provide food and shelter for birds and insects. Other micro-habitats have been created through dead hedging and accumulating manageable discrete piles of debris from coppicing and tree pruning in the woodland areas. Cut woody materials are also used to create attractive features such as a woven willow hurdle and a large willow brash pot a woven structure full of deadwood and used by birds for nesting. In 2014 a further wildflower area was sown alongside a planted nectar rich area of scrub adjacent to the River Slea footbridge.
Wildflowers on this site include cowslip, which as a result of grassland management have year on year increased to provide a stunning yellow carpet in early spring. Other perennial wildflowers include meadow cranesbill and buttercup, ox-eye daisy and common knapweed. The wetland habitat including the pond, damp grassland and fen supports reed sweet grass, common fleabane, yellow flag iris, purple loosestrife, great willowherb and gypsywort. The low-lying damp nature of Lollycocks favours trees and shrubs such as common alder, willow and guelder rose with aspen, birch, hazel and field maple found in the drier areas.
Since 2007 a dedicated local volunteer group led by a Hill Holt Wood Ranger has met on a monthly basis carrying out a range of activities helping to create and maintain an attractive reserve that supports at least 93 flora species, dragonfly species including emperor, common and migrant hawker, 16 species of butterfly and a minimum of 20 species of bird and wildfowl. For their efforts they were recognised and awarded as a group by Sleaford in Bloom in 2016.
Lollycocks Field Local Nature Reserve, Eastgate Road, Sleaford. Parking Cogglesford Mill Car Park NG34 7EQ (Charges Apply), Eastgate Car Park NG34 7DT (Charges Apply) Interested in volunteering? Please contact . Or call 01636 892836 for further information.