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Fencing installed as part of project to reconnect historic woodland in Grantham

Work is progressing to link up Belton House’s estate and Londonthorpe Woods as part of a major project to reconnect Grantham to its historic landscape.

New wooden gateposts and rail fencing have gone up in woodland off Five Gates Lane as part of plans to introduce conservation grazing on the site.

An area has also been set aside for an outdoor classroom for local schools, with plans for a dipping platform once the level of a pond established there has stabilised.

Londonthorpe Woods. (48466374)
Londonthorpe Woods. (48466374)

The developments form part of a £1.2 million project which aims to ‘reconnect’ Bellmount, the eastern part of the Belton House estate, and Londonthope Woods, on the edge of Grantham.

The Woodland Trust and National Trust, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, are working together to connect these two sites for people to explore and enjoy further.

Heather Cook, project manager at Londonthorpe, has been helping to spearhead the project.

Londonthorpe Woods. (48466303)
Londonthorpe Woods. (48466303)

She said: “Five Gates Wood is particularly rich in biodiversity with a good mix of habitats.

“Grazing cattle in this area is a great way of maintaining the habitat in a more natural and effective way than annual mowing. The cattle tend not to graze evenly which creates variations in the grassland and aids biodiversity.

“The path network on site remains accessible with kissing gates throughout the fenced areas.

“The cattle will be on site for limited periods of time and signs will go up whenever they are on site. People who would rather avoid them will easily be able to do so by remaining outside of the fenced areas.

Londonthorpe Woods. (48466676)
Londonthorpe Woods. (48466676)

“We do ask that visitors keep their dogs on lead in Five Gates Wood so as to disturb the wildlife as little as possible.

“The rest of the site – Londonthorpe Wood (adjacent to the car park), Alma Park and Alma Wood – are all zoned for dogs off lead.”

The project to “reconnect Grantham to its historic landscape” will create unprecedented access between the sites, allowing people to seamlessly explore a combined area of 225 hectares of woods and parkland to discover both its secret history and environmental treasures.

It will also see the restoration and opening up of the iconic Bellmount Tower, the creation of a new cycle way which will link Grantham town centre to the site, waymarked trails, children’s trails, an easy access route, picnic facilities and educational areas. In addition, there will be an improved ‘fit for purpose’ car park at Londonthorpe Wood.

Londonthorpe Woods. (48466118)
Londonthorpe Woods. (48466118)

A programme of events and activities will be organised to involve the local community once current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Conservation will be at the heart of the project, and key will be working to restore and enhance key wildlife habitats, helping to ensuring their protection.

Heather added: “We do have some very exciting plans in store that’ll be happening later this year.”

For more on the project go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ReconnectingGrantham and www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ReconnectingGrantham

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