The village is on the A1133 between Newark and Gainsborough, and is 1.5 miles north of the larger village of Collingham. The village lies 1 mile east of the River Trent. Besthorpe acquired Conservaton Village status in 2006 because it has maintained much of its original layout focused on Low Road and the Green. Newark and Sherwood District Council’s website contains a map showing the boundary and contains information for residents in a Conservation Area.
Two key environments meet in Besthorpe. To the north and east the East Nottinghamshire Sandlands are an increasingly rare habitat supporting grass heaths, bracken, gorse and broom with mixed small-scale plantations of birch, oak and Scots pine. The River Fleet and the fields to the west are part of the Trent Washlands which provide the village with its River Meadowlands landscape of meadow and river pastures, extensive grasslands and meandering river channels. More detailed commentary can be found on the website of our local Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Seasonal changes in the environment and its related habitats provide a diversity of floral and faunal species making a visit in any season a rewarding experience.
The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have spent many years reworking old sand and gravel quarries into a major Nature Reserve (officially opened in June 2011) and over 100 species of birds have been recorded including key colonies of tree-nesting cormorants, a major heronry and sand martins. In 2013 a number of little egrets raised their chicks here – considered to be the most northerly such colony in the UK. The Nature Reserve is easily accessible from Trent Lane and the road to the carpark runs alongside an SSSI meadow noted particularly for its flowers including Great Burnet. In the spring a range of wild flowers including orchids can be found around the reserve. Further information on the Nature Reserve can be found at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Besthorpe works in partnership with the Wildlife Trust and is a ‘Wildlife Friendly’ village. A community project created a wildflower meadow on the playing field and a community orchard has been started next to this.
With a grant from the Trent Vale partnership and advice from Notts Wildlife Trust a large group of village volunteers set to work to create a summer wildflower meadow. Planted two years ago the meadow had a tough start with a long dry period after autumn seeding. Generally it has had a remarkable second season with previously close cut playing field grass, which showed little sign of interest, blossoming over a long summer season. Butterflies, moths, bees and birds are now very evident and there is a range of insects hidden in the undergrowth.
Flowers observed throughout the summer: cowslip, scabious, red and white campions, herb-Robert, red and white dead nettle, mallow, scarlet pimpernel, trefoil, yarrow, yellow rattle, bed straw, oxeye daisies, red and white clover, hare’s-foot clover, grounsel, hawkweed, germander speedwell, a range of tall grasses.
There are one or two ‘plant thugs’ which will need attention in the spring so that they don’t detract from the meadow.
Millennium Wood alongside the A1133 was planted originally in 2000 and bluebells were added to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. A clearance project aims to keep this Wood accessible for leisure use.
The Community assists in the maintenance of the wildflower meadow and the village greens, and helps to protect the environment by a regular Litter Pick throughout the village. Litter Bins and Dog Waste Bins are strategically placed within Besthorpe to help keep the village tidy.
Car parking is provided on the playing field with an entrance off Old School Lane. It is adjacent to the children’s play area, the MUGA (multi use games area) and the other facilities on the field. The car park was designed with a view to protecting the village green and the grass verges around the village so that visitors can keep their vehicles off the roads yet start their exploration from a central point.
A first call should be the information board next to Trinity Hall. This provides local information and shows all the key footpaths by which the local environments can be visited. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have placed more detailed maps at key points around the Nature Reserve.