Posted by: lensweb | May 12, 2015

Holme Pit Clifton and St Mary’s Church

Holme Pit Clifton and St Mary’s Church – short walk in Clifton nature reserves, followed by tour of church (with refreshments).

Meet 7pm at fishermen’s car park near end of Clifton Hall Drive.

Grid ref SK 541 349 Postcode NG11 8NH

Leaders Christine Carrier (walk) and Clare Ashton (churchwarden)

Holme Pit (also known as Colonel Clifton’s Pond) is owned by Nottingham City Council and was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1982.  It forms part of the Clifton Woods, Clifton Grove and Holme Pit Local Nature Reserve (LNR). A well maintained path runs along the foot of the escarpment through Clifton Grove to Clifton Woods and Holme Pit and is part of the Trent Valley Way. The pond  originated as a marl pit sometime before 1763 and has connections to the Clifton family and Clifton Hall which stands on the nearby escarpment. It is surrounded by reed-swamp, wet grassland and willow carr vegetation with rare sedges. It suffers flooding from the River Trent, so is prone to silting and was last dredged in 2008.

15 LENS members met under a glowering sky and followed a stoney path winding between steep banks covered with the distressed pale green leaves of snowdrops. A green woodpecker yaffled from the mixed sycamore, elm, beech and ash woods lining the V shaped grove. Gazing up to the escarpment gleaming white veins of satin spar gypsum shone from a clean red stained exposure of sedimentary rock.


A rock exposure at Clifton Grove 27 April 2015

Photo credit Marion Bryce

A song thrush sang as the sun burst  through, and the heavenly hyacinth scent of bluebells drew us to look at the flowers. Cream sepals confirming the true English bluebell we listed the plants, dog’s mercury, cowslip, yellow archangel, green alkanet.

Where willows were soaking their feet in still pools, bright yellow flowers of marsh marigold shone against the brilliant sun. A board walk led through reed beds where we watched a grey heron probe for smooth newts along the farthest edge of the huge pond.  A dark and dramatic sky contrasted the smooth silver water. Hurriedly ticking off cowslip, cuckoo flower and brooklime.


Holme Pit 27 April 2015

Photo credit Marion Bryce

Too soon, we were running to meet the church wardens at St Mary’s Church, a Catholic church registered in the 1086 Domesday book, sacked by Henry Vlll, now fully restored with superb concert quality acoustics. We sat inside, sipping tea, feeling the history. The lost heart of a Clifton, fabulous Clifton alabaster knights in repose, brass rubbings and a giant black prince.

Outside bats flew around the central church tower and tawny owls called to each other across the night.

Marion Bryce 27 April 2015