Developed around a former flooded gravel pit, the 41-acre Millennium Green is one of over 250 green spaces developed countrywide to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium. The project was originally conceived and managed by a local group of trustees until North Kesteven District Council took over ownership in 2011 safeguarding its future. Over a period of twenty years it has become an important urban green space that supports a wide range of Flora and Fauna in a maturing mosaic of wetland, grassland and woodland habitats.
Situated in North Hykeham it forms part of the Witham Valley Countryside Park - a landscape scale project aiming to improve and increase connectivity between a range of green space facilities across North Kesteven. The site is managed by Hill Holt Wood with a primary objective of maintaining a balance of nature conservation and attractive public open space for all visitors to enjoy.
A mile-long circular path leads visitors around the perimeter of the lake alongside a continuous tree belt with changing views and habitat at each turn. These include the central lake, areas of short mown grass, wildflower meadow, rough grassland with scrub, hedgerows and woodland. Together these habitats support the many species of wildlife that live on and around the lake.
Pockets of wildflower meadow and tall grassland are encouraged to grow amongst maintained grass areas to increase biodiversity. Ox-eye daisy, knapweed, common and tufted vetch, clover and birds foot trefoil to name a few wildflower species, bring seasonal colour to the grassland as well as nectar for a variety of pollinating insects including butterflies, moths, hoverflies and bees. Rough tall grassland provides shelter for frogs, toads and small mammals and food plants for grassland butterflies such as the ringlet and meadow brown.
Many of the trees on Millennium Green are still maturing but in years to come a mature oak tree on this site may produce 50,000 acorns in one year and support hundreds of insect species alone. Other planted tree and shrub species include aspen, birch, rowan, wild cherry, hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose and hazel with willow and common alder at the lake edge. Bird species found in the woodland, hedgerow and scrub habitats include great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, blackbird, robin, goldfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch and bullfinch. Summer visitors include warblers such as chiffchaff, whitethroat and blackcap.
The shallower margins of the large deep lake support developing reedbeds consisting of common reed and yellow flag Iris with meadowsweet and great willowherb in the damp soil areas on the lake shore. Warmer shallow areas of the lake support aquatic life including the larvae of dragonfly and damselfly that in summer perch and hunt for insect food in the surrounding grassland and hedgerow. The large open body of water also provides feeding and overwintering for migratory and resident wildfowl. Dependent on season, mute swan, Canada, Egyptian and graylag geese, mallard, tufted duck, moorhen, coot, gadwall, great crested grebe, goosander and golden eye can be seen on the lake. Cormorants can often be seen on the small island of trees in the lake draping and drying their wings.
A fledgling Millennium Green volunteer group currently meets each Thursday to carry out a range of seasonal tasks. Led by a Hill Holt Wood Ranger this includes grass cutting and meadow management in the summer, followed by tree pruning, coppicing and bird box maintenance in the winter.
Millennium Green Leys Close off Station Road, North Hykeham, LN6 9FF. Parking Memorial Hall, Newark Road, LN6 9RY. Interested in volunteering? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call 01636 892836 for further information.