More than half of this rich habitat has already been built on or spoilt, with stiles taken out and Heras fencing protecting most of the site. Two trees with Tree Preservation Orders, an ash and an oak, were cut down by contractors on behalf of the developer in 2015 before the developer had full planning permission but the developer was not fined a potential £20,000 per tree.
With three different types of habitat on this small area of land, wetland, grassland, and brush, Codnor Common is rich in wildlife – so many animals and plants are at risk.
The Common is a great destination for bird enthusiasts. Birds recorded on the site include the song thrush (Turdus philomelos), wood pigeon (Columba livia), blackbird (Turdus merula), starling (Sturnus vulgaris), carrion crow (Corvus corone), chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), coal tit (Periparus ater), goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), robin (Erithacus rubecula) and magpie (Pica pica).
Visitors and residents have also reported seeing house sparrows, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits, mistle thrushes, redwings, fieldfares, greenfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, lesser redpolls, siskins, wren, collared doves, stock doves, black headed gulls, pied wagtails, buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks, tawny owls, little owls, jackdaws, rooks, jays, great spotted woodpeckers, goldcrests, swallows, swifts, and house martins. Not to mention these grey herons. RSPB red and amber declining species are regular visitors to the site.
But the Common promises more than just birds. A wide range of species live there. The hedgerows in particular are a hugely important for small animals such as hedgehogs and the areas of long grass provide the perfect habitat for small rodents. In 2011 the hedgehog was named in the top ten most threatened species in the country and we have them in abundance. Bats roost in the trees. Foxes hunt on the land and are left out food by residents. Squirrels compete with birds for nuts (and my suet balls). There may well be badgers.
Many species of trees can also be found on the Common, including the rare black poplar, horse chestnut, English oak, and ash. Some now have Tree Preservations Orders. The hedgerows are significant and there may be evidence of an ancient green lane.
The meadow itself is also a habitat type in decline across the UK. Meadow plants identified by a member of the group include common sorrel, red clover, white clover, meadow buttercup, creeping buttercup, common knapweed, common cats ear, creeping thistle, birds foot trefoil, tufted vetch, hairy tare, and silverweed. Natural grasses include yorkshire fog and red fescue.