Attenborough Nature Reserve


Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire is a 150-hectare complex of lakes created as a result of gravel extraction. It has developed into a valuable habitat for overwintering waterfowl, and also supports an important community of breeding birds.

Project brief

Ecosulis was commissioned to contribute to the development of a natural flood alleviation scheme that involved the installation of floating reedbeds. Drone surveys, GIS mapping and biodiversity assessments using the Biodiversity Quality Calculator were undertaken after reed planting and translocation took place. The new habitat created has since been colonised by bittern.




manage Biodiversity

A promising increase in biodiversity was recorded.

Protect Habitats

New reed-bed habitat was created, benefiting numerous species.

empower-us-to-act People

Enhanced recreational experiences for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

How we added value

Habitat restoration

Reedbed, fen swamp and woodland habitat was created by planting more than 250,000 plants. More than 600 m2 of reeds was translocated to form a thriving new habitat, and 200 m2 of floating reedbed was installed as a filter to improve water quality. These reedbeds are prone to wildfowl grazing – additional measures were undertaken to reduce grazing and ensure the welfare of wildfowl within the reedbed areas.

Habitat survey and design

Ecosulis designed a monitoring survey framework to monitor how biodiversity has been affected by the reedbed restoration. An aerial drone survey was undertaken to capture high quality images of the restoration sites. These images were used to create habitat maps in a GIS. The presence of bird and plant species was also surveyed.

Bittern colonisation

The bittern is one of the rarest bird species in the UK. The heron-like bird was spotted breeding for the first time in the Attenborough Nature Reserve in 2015. The birds like to breed in reedbeds and in response to the restoration works, the bittern colonised the new habitat within one season.

Project testimonial

Within Attenborough SSSI Ecosulis have provided extensive new areas of reed and marginal habitat, creating suitable habitat for species contained within the designation for the site, such as bittern. They also provided technical advice and support throughout the project, providing numerous innovative solutions to problems. Where water levels were challenging, for example, Ecosulis introduced a floating reed bed solution which has been a great success.

Want to learn more about rewilding and nature recovery?

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