This blog is written by employees of Nottinghamshire County Council, the views in this blog are personal and may not be shared by the County Council.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

See you in 2016.

Rufford Ranger Team

Saturday, 5 December 2015

It's Chrissssstmaaaaas, nearly

Here at Rufford we have been working on Christmas for quite a while now, whether it be weaving a willow hat for the snowman or making running repairs to the ever popular Christmas Trail.

A lot of work goes in to making sure things are to a high standard for the public to enjoy on their visits.This year we have re-located the tree to the Coach House courtyard and placed a lovely Victorian lamp in the inner courtyard, from mid afternoon as the light darkens it creates a magical atmosphere.

Also this year we are running a small ticket only event involving a Story teller, details on the photo below.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Autumn colour.

Not only are the leaves showing varying colour but the wildlife is too. Butterflies are still venturing out on sunny autumnal mornings, and dragonflies are making the most of the sun's rays by basking on every available warm surface.

Obviously we could not leave out a photo of the changing of lush green leaves to withering autumn colours. Below is an Oak tree making those such changes.

On a different scale of colour the Trailcam shot this image just after a Kingfisher had dived for it's lunch.

Monday, 21 September 2015

New beginnings and 5,000+ blog views

First off the blog has now received over 5,000 views so we are quite overwhelmed with that. It is nice to know there are people out there interested in the day to day running of a Country Park.

Secondly, we would like to welcome a couple of new team members, new team sketch to follow.

Thirdly, keeping on the theme of new beginnings a rare sighting of a Ladybird emerging from it's pupal state.


On a sad note the Mulberry Tree dropped a branch (much to the delight of the local wood-turners group), so it got cleared up and is due to be trimmed back this Winter anyway.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Swan song

The seven cygnets are still growing every day and both parents are doing a brilliant job of showing them the right feeding grounds.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Small Tortoiseshell chrysalis

Recently we noticed a chrysalis and every now and again we photo it to see if it has changed.
Below is an image showing a colour change from a pale colour to the darker form of the Butterfly which is to emerge from it. 

In the next week this chrysalis will turn into a beautiful Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Meadow madness

The Meadow is looking fantastic as usual...........and this year an Orchid even decided to make an appearance. Below are some pics of what you may see in the Meadow this year, including Bee, Devils Bit Scabious and Grasshoppers.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Photo friendly

Our job isn't all just about saving or photographing cute and cuddly creatures.................

A sign of things to come.....

Rufford has been as busy as ever with lots going on as always.
Recently a new sign was ordered to show people some of the birds that are using our lake as their home, as well as passing through occasionally on migration.
A spot was chosen overlooking the lake so that people can identify what birds they can see.


Also some remedial work is being undertaken in the maze area where a new fence is being put in. There is still a lot to do here but it may be.......a sign of things to come.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Flying the nest......

Once again the Swallow's set up camp near our office, and along with a few other pairs have successfully fledged 4 baby swallows, feeding up for their long maiden flight back to Africa. Swallow's will nest in the same spot most years.

Above are some pictures of the tentative young Swallow's, awaiting instructions and life lessons from their parents.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Himalayan Balsam pulling.

Last year the Himalayan Balsam made it to the stage of flowering in a very small area so this year we tackled it early, with help of our Conservation Volunteers, Wild Sherwood and the team. Luckily we have spotted none flowering this year (see picture below).

The team donned some waders and ventured out as some had been spotted on one of our floating islands. Previously we did some work in the Wetland Conservation Area.

Friday, 5 June 2015

All A bit Batty!

Rufford has all been a favorite of the local bat population for many years and recent surveys have identified a total of 7 species using the site with at least 4 of these species breeding.

Bats that have recently been recorded by Nottinghamshire Bat group and a recent ecology surveyor are:

Brown long-eared 
Soprano pips 

Common pip 

We are really lucky to have this many species on site and  taylor our woodland management to reflect this by using minimal intervention techniques in the woodland such as just clearing dangerous trees and a proportion of the scrub layer. We do this to improve the structure and diversity of the woodland as a whole and to ensure younger saplings and ground flora have a chance to take off , this in turn encourages insects into the woodland which are a bats favorite food. 

The other bonus we have here at Rufford which bats just love is the lake. On a warm summers evening they can been seen doing aerial acrobatics over the open water catching insects as they go putting on a fantastic display for whoever might be passing at that moment.

So next time your out for a summers evening walk just before dusk, head to the lake to see if you can catch the show.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Pesticides, pond dipping and fledglings.

A busy week has seen many things happen at Rufford.
Lots of young birds have decided to make their way in the world, fledglings spotted include House Sparrow, Blue tit (see below), Robin and Swallows about to make the leap.

Alongside this a college group from North Notts College cam out to do some water surveying for us. They split into two groups and pond dipped off two platforms to see what was frequenting our Wetland Conservation Area. Results were counted and verified and the species listed below were found;
  • Water Boatmen
  • A huge Dragonfly nymph
  • Lots of other nymphs
  • Leech
  • Stickleback fish
  • Water Mite
  • Loads of tadpoles in various stages, some with legs forming
  • Freshwater Hoglouse
And to finish off on a positive note we all passed our PA6 Pesticides assessment.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

BEEn a bit BUZZy.

After being swarmed with paperwork I managed to vacate the hive and get out and about.
The Bluebells are out and look great, and we have completed various management tasks such as ; crown lifting, tree felling and strimming the flood bank. We have to keep the flood bank clear of vegetation so the water can flow off it smoothly.

Below is also a picture of the Honey Bee swarm which has taken up residence in a shrub in the gardens. We have cordoned it off to the public just in case they get disturbed. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Opening up.

Click on above link.

Whilst opening up this morning I was greeted by this lot!!! 12 ducklings in total.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Wild Sherwood 15.4.15

On Wednesday Wild Sherwood were left with a task of turning the remains of an old pond dipping platform into something that would be beneficial to the Wetland Conservation Area.

Above is what they had to work with.

They did a great job and below is an image of what they made. 
Two benches were made, one adult height bench and one child height bench, this is so people can sit on something whilst they are watching other pond dip.......and for us to sit on at lunch time.

As well as making these fantastic benches they started removing Ragwort from the path and levelled off an area for the wild bird seed mix, which will hopefully attract more birds from surrounding farmland.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter egg hunt

Come to Rufford and find the eggs the Easter Bunny has hidden.
Can you find all 10 patterned eggs plus a special Golden egg?

£1 per Trail, car park charges apply, subject to availability, see tourist information for more details.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring has sprung

Whilst being set the task of finding signs of Spring one of the team managed to photograph an early Bluebell and a basking Peacock Butterfly. 
Other signs have included Long-Tailed Tits with nesting material and Chiffchaffs singing away at the tops of trees. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Work experience

Recently we took on someone for a fortnights work experience. We were very happy with his work ethic and he was very hard working. He had to complete a list for his College of things he had done.
The list shows the variety of jobs we have to undertake with no week being the same.

I am currently studying at north Nottinghamshire College, and doing work experience at Rufford Country Park. Whist doing my placement I have carried out a large variety of tasks which I have enjoyed. Below is a list of those.

Planting Roses
Re-siting various shrubs and flowers
Assisting with opening and closing the site.  

Processed a fallen tree on the water side.
Transported limestone around the site.
Assisting with opening and closing the site.

Assisted with the process of tree felling.
Chainsaw maintenance.
Assisting with opening and closing the site.

Carried out limestone footpath repairs.
Felled a dead tree in gardens.
Collected brash from around the site.

Checking orienteering posts around the site.
Prepared new orienteering posts.

Hedge laying 
Helped open and close the site.

Pruning Roses
Assisted in relocating  an injured swan

Transporting Limestone.
Transporting tools around the site.
Assisted with opening and closing the site.

Carried out repairs to the children’s play area.
Watered various plants around the site.
Observed a tree specialist at work. 

Carried out  repairs to the children’s play area
Transported limestone around the site.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


The TrailCam was placed in a spot where the Fox had been seen regularly and after a few days the TrailCam caught it at night, sneaking around. 
Other things caught on the TrailCam include a Stoat moving it's young around and a mallard attempting to eat a fish.

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Contrary to popular belief there are many types of gulls, below shows an image of two different gulls all in the same place on Rufford Lake, can you see the differences??

Look at size, leg colour, wing colour etc.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hard graft and Kingfishers

All of our volunteer groups have done some hard graft this week. North Notts have been hedge-laying and helping fill the sandpit, Wild Sherwood have been working down the wetland and relaying paths in the play area and our Conservation volunteers have also been working in the play area getting it ready for the onslaught of kids in the holidays. 
We can not emphasise enough the importance of all these groups.

And to top off the week a resident photographer sent in these images of courting Kingfishers.
The male has a solid black beak and the female has a pinkish orange lower beak

There have been multiple sightings on the lake of Kingfisher with one person seeing five at the same time!!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Build a bird box success


Needless to say the build a bird box event was that much of a success that we had to turn people away at 11.30. There was suppose to be a 10-12 session followed by a 1-3 session but boxes allocated for both sessions went in the morning session.
The ages participating were 4 years old to a very enthusiastic 80 year old granny.
Fun was had by all, both Tit boxes like the picture above and open fronted Robin boxes were made. 
Whilst many were hammering away we also made pine cone feeders for the birds, these are simple to make an consist of cramming lard and bird seed into a pine cone, which you then tie in a tree.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Like a duck to water

Today saw the second half of the team undertake their boat training, the picture below shows the different boats used, from a simple small outboard motor to a more powerful multi-vessel.

The course included knot skills, maintenance, 3 point turns, mooring, man overboard amongst others. As previously stated we are currently unable to reach some of our islands that need some management doing to them. With this qualification we will be able to venture out and clear some of the islands, and uncover overgrown relics such as a stone bridge.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Hedging their bets.

North Notts College were in last week laying part of Millennium hedge which is an ideal age for laying (15 years), it it a mixture of Hazel, Hawthorn, Silver Birch, Cherry and a couple of others. All the stakes were made from Hazel coppiced on site and the binding will be harvested from Willow on site too. Watch this space for updates.

Training Day

Last week a few of us were booked on the Power Boat Level 2 training at a nearby reservoir, and it was great. Having water on site is another factor affecting what management we can do. For example with islands which have been unmanaged for quite a few years, it is now noticeable that they are overgrown and becoming an eye sore. So this training means we can take a boat with tools or volunteers and successfully start some management of the islands. They are currently covered in trees, coppice and scrub.
The other half of the team are doing there training next week so hopefully have pics to follow.

We have a simple flat bottomed boat with a small outboard motor which is all we need on a site like Rufford, we did get to go in slightly faster vessels which were great to sample too.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A harrowing task

Molehills are a prevalent problem at Rufford and one way of flattening them down is to use something called a chain harrow. It fastens on the back of most tractors and all terrain vehicles and gives a football pitch like effect after driving up a field one way then the opposite.
Chain harrowing can be used in many situations, 
  • Pasture renovation
  • Breaking up and levelling heavy soil
  • Stimulating growth by loosening thatch and aerating
  • Spreading manure
  • Clearing moss
  • Working compressed soil

Above it shows the flattening of molehills and clearing of loose debris on our grassed area outside the Abbey. This was undertaken by our very enthusiastic 70 year old worker.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Rufford ringing

Another successful bird ringing session took place at Rufford yesterday with an impressive 86 birds identified, sexed and aged. 
Totals were as follows;

Other birds spotted were Brambling and Bullfinch

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Trailcam findings

The wildlife camera got dusted off and put out the other day to see what was lurking at Rufford. Surprisingly it caught a Fox scavenging in the day not long after the camera went out, note the times below each image. Also seen was a Heron.

The day after the fox was back, passing regularly through the night.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bloomin early

Last year we thought the
Daffodils bloomed early
but this year has outdone it!
Along the main drive you
can find emerging
splashes of yellow

Lesser Spotted Rufford Car Park Finch

Above is an image sent in by A.Hawfinch, he sent this image in showing the distribution of the elusive Lesser Spotted Rufford Car Park Finch, often seen in small flocks around tarmacked areas, occasionally feeding and running around when a predator flies over.

On a serious note, both Hawfinch and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker have been seen most mornings this week. 

Image taken at Rufford Country Park of a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Pressing benches

Here at Rufford it is not all about fluffy animals, lovely walks and park management........there are loads of other jobs that need doing around the park. Included in this is the upkeep of around 240 benches. They come in various shapes and forms including wooden and recycled plastic. It is the job of our resident handyman to fix rotten legs, screw down loose slats and re-varnish any tired looking benches. Below are a few photos of the process. 

One of the many jobs undertaken by staff which is often overlooked.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Christmas Done & Dusted

Christmas has been busy and our new and improved Santa’s trail has been a success. Now Christmas is all packed away, the ranger team are now busying themselves with tree work before the bird nesting season starts. As well as concentrating on up and coming events that 2015 will be playing host to. Planning and preparation for our trails and events usually gets underway 6 months to a year before it takes place. We are already discussing ideas for Christmas 2015.