The Rhein o'Thorns
The Rhein oThorns is part of the Hills and Holes SSSI because of its wildflowers, but was not actively managed for some time. Much Hawthorn and other shrubs including Buckthorn are spreading across the area and the value of the site is in danger of being lost. This small area is like a snapshot of the Hills and Holes containing many of the wild plants though in a much smaller area. In 2002 the Warsop Footpaths and Countryside Group started to implement a management plan to increase the areas where wildflowers can thrive. To the west of the Rhein o'Thorns an improved habitat has been created by the restoration of the settling ponds from Warsop Main Colliery which closed in 1989.
The Plants of The Rhein o'Thorns
Around the settling pond, look out for a large, very robust plant with purplish or red blotched, rough stems. It may grow up to nine feet (almost 3 metres) in height. This is Giant Hogweed and is the largest wild herb growing in Europe. It is not native to the UK; it was introduced from the Caucasus. It was probably introduced to this location during an earlier restoration project. Beware, the plant is poisonous and the sap can cause very severe blistering of the skin. Be especially careful with children who might be tempted to use the stems for peashooters.
The Birds of The Rhein o'Thorns
The settling ponds below the Rhein oThorns have recently been restored. It is reported that Kingfisher and Heron have already returned. Also look out for water birds such as ducks, Coot and Moorhen. They are often the first colonisers of new wetland areas. If sufficient marginal vegetation develops, Snipe may reappear along with other waders. Snipe were common on the Hills and Holes, the loss of an important marshy area in the 1970-80s has meant they are rarely seen now.