An Introduction to the Countryside of Warsop Parish

The area covered by this site is some of the most ancient managed countryside anywhere in the North Notts. area. Examining the countryside within the area can lead to a better understanding of the relationship between thousands of years of human activity and the current appearance of the landscape. From pre-Roman times, through Anglo-Saxon and Viking settlers, Norman conquerors, medieval fiefdoms, to coal mining and the present day; fields, tracks and lanes, and their associated boundaries have been functional countryside elements that have developed a character all of their own. Take a gentle walk around the area at different seasons to gain a year round sense of wonderment. Walk in the steps of long dead people and try to imagine how they viewed the wildlife and countryside of Warsop Parish.

The Hills and Holes is an ancient quarry site at the centre of this booklet's area. It was used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to provide the stone for local buildings. Warsop and Sookholme churches were probably built from the locally quarried stone. It was never quarried on an industrial scale, which is why the plants that exist there today have been able to develop over such a long period. There was always somewhere for the plants to grow. Only with the coming of the coal mines and the railway was large scale quarrying undertaken, even then it occurred only in two places. Now even those sites are being invaded by wildflowers. Where there was bare rock thirty years ago, plants increasingly cover the ground.

Warsop Parish is fortunate in that it is situated across two different environmental conditions that are important to plants. Soil is generally made from the underlying rocks, different rocks create different soil-types. The limestone-based soils to the west provide very different conditions to those of the sandy soils to the east.

Different groupings of plants are found on each. These two basic groupings are further complicated by the effects of temperatures, rainfall and drainage that further sub-divide the soils. The existing plants in any one place create conditions that affect what other plants can grow there. Over time, all these factors work together to build sets of vegetation that can be identified and classified according to the environmental conditions in which they grow.

However, a final factor, human activity, has become important over the last thousand years, and within the last two hundred years has become the most important factor. The scale and pace of change of land-use has overtaken many plant communities so that in many places they no longer can grow.

Warsop Parish is no different, but the Parish has retained some areas that have been affected to a lesser extent. The area covered by this site is one such place.

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