Kirkby Moor and the Bain Valley

Centred on the Trust’s Kirkby Moor nature reserve, this ambitious project aims to create an extensive area of new wildlife habitat including wet woodland, heathland and acid grassland.

This will be based around several existing sites, including the Trust’s reserve at Kirkby Moor, which is the largest remnant of the once-large heathlands around Woodhall Spa. Another reserve has been created by gravel extraction alongside the River Bain, where the Trust is working with mineral companies on habitat restoration. Restoration at Kirkby Airfield, within the project area, would produce the largest area of heath, acid grassland and wetland restored from an extraction site in the East Midlands.

River Bain

A defining feature of this Living Landscape is the River Bain, which meanders out of the Lincolnshire Wolds to drain much of the local landscape, eventually joining the Witham at Dogdyke. The life giving waters of the Bain and its tributaries provide valuable habitat for many wetland species. The nature reserve of Kirkby Gravel Pits is part of the course of the Old River Bain (the current course runs adjacent to the old) and has become an excellent bird-watching site. In spring and summer the shallow water, with its numerous spits and islands, suits many breeding birds.

Ancient heathland

Historically, the area around Kirkby Moor was noted for its heathland, which is distinctive for the deep purple colour of heather.  Much of this has now been lost, which is why the restoration of this habitat has been so important at Kirkby Moor nature reserve.

Because of the diverse array of wild plants and animals that these landscapes support and because of their relative scarcity in Britain and Europe, they are of high conservation value. 

As you cycle or drive down Kirkby lane towards Woodhall Spa you will notice the sudden change in landscape. The enclosed woodland and wild looking heathland evoke a more ancient world, one quite different from the modern arable landscape of Lincolnshire we are used to.


What's happening

Woodhall Spa Airfield

The former RAF airfield which was home of the 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron during the last years of World War 2 is now a landscape of sandy soils with acid grassland, heathland with some marsh areas and open water. Recently it has been quarried for sand and gravel and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has worked in partnership with Cemex for many years on the site.

The Wildlife Trust already owns half of the airfield and in Spring 2013 launched an appeal to secure the remaining area as a nature reserve. The purchase of the former airfield is part of the Wildlife Trusts aspiration to create a Living Landscape of larger, connected wildlife sites with improved access for people. It is adjacent to Kirkby Moor nature reserve (Wildlife Trust, SSSI) and Ostlers Plantation (Forestry Commission), which are close to Moor Farm nature reserve (Wildlife Trust, SSSI), Roughton Moor Woodland nature reserve (Wildlife Trust) and Woodhall Spa Golf Course SSSI. It will also allow what remains of the runway to be saved.

Read our special website section for more information about the airfield and local landscape. 


Kirkby Gravel Pits extension

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has purchased Riverslea Lake, a 6 hectare addition to the 15 hectare Kirkby Gravel Pits Nature Reserve. The critical feature of the lake is the “reservoir” of water that allows us to raise water levels in the main nature reserve lake in the winter. The lake was purchased thanks to a £140,000 grant from Biffa Award.

The grant also allowed for management works to be carried out including the flattening of a raised spit of land to create more islands, the creation of a sand martin cliff, water control structures, a grazing enclosure and improved entrance works.