What is the habitat for Roots of Rockingham?
Rockingham Forest covers more than 200 square miles, and has long been part of the natural and cultural heritage of Northamptonshire. It was designated a hunting forest by William the Conqueror back in 1086. Much of the once-vast ancient broad-leaved forest remains, but in separate woodland patches, dotted through the arable landscape. These are wonderful places, where nationally rare plants, bats, birds, reptiles and butterflies can still be found.
Why is this habitat at risk?
Over much of Rockingham Forest, the traditional management that maintained diverse wildlife and a variety of habitats has ceased. The increasingly fragmented woodlands have been badly affected by increasing numbers of deer, which browse and nibble any new seedlings, regrowth and other vegetation. The nature of the woods is changing too as a result of climate change and nutrient enrichment from atmospheric nitrogen, caused by traffic and agricultural fertilisers.
How we will bring back Rockingham Forest’s species
This Back from the Brink project, led by Butterfly Conservation, will restore and manage a network of woodland sites across the Rockingham Forest area, creating more habitat in which vulnerable species can thrive. We will introduce more diversity in the woodlands, increasing the complexity of the forest structure and creating more open space and habitat niches, such as dead wood. We will involve local people, helping them to get closer to the extraordinary wildlife of the forest, and working with volunteers to manage and monitor it.
Once enough suitable habitat is available, we will reintroduce the Chequered Skipper Butterfly, extinct in England since 1976. We will monitor the effects of all this work, and best practice advice will be disseminated to woodland managers to ensure the forest remains healthy.
What we’re aiming for
By the end of the project, we aim to have restored and managed this network of sites, ensuring the recovery and viability of the forest and the species that depend on it. We also want to see the Chequered Skipper on the wing in England again.
How to get involved
Can you help us by getting involved with surveys, or with the management for Rockingham Forest? Find out more at our talks, walks and events.
You can get the latest news, and find out about upcoming events, by following the links below.
Habitat quality assessments for chequered skipper reintroduction at primary woodland sites
Woodland ride widening and management begins
First training sessions for volunteers on how to survey and monitor key target species – butterflies, bats, reptiles, birds and plants
Reintroduction of chequered skipper at first woodland site (weather permitting!)
School workshops begin