The ancient market town of Bingham, population approximately 9000, lies on the edge of the beautiful and unspoilt Vale of Belvoir and is within easy reach of Nottingham, Grantham and Newark. The Town itself covers some 20% of the parish, which is otherwise almost entirely given over to agriculture. Whilst there are no woods or major watercourses within the parish boundary there are many areas and sites that serve as valuable habitats for wild life. In the Town itself there are house gardens, the recreational areas and sports fields, the churchyard and the cemetery. Outside the Town are the hedgerows, many of which date back, at least, to the period of enclosure in the late seventeenth century and, in some cases, a century or more earlier than that. Running through the parish are two railway tracks - the busy Nottingham Grantham railway line and the now dismantled line, which connected the Town with the markets at Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough. The latter line, running south-east from the Saxondale end of Nottingham Road across the parish boundary and beyond, has been developed into a conservation area known as the 'Linear Park' and is rapidly becoming the focus of the natural history interest in the parish. It is in the Linear Park region that the nationally rare Four-spotted Moth can be seen. All of these areas support a surprising variety of wildlife and each plays an important part in helping to preserve the Town's natural history.

The butterflies and moths, including Bingham's rare insects, the wild flowers, trees, shrubs and birds of the parish, all of which are dealt with on other pages, are generally easy to observe. On the other hand, while there is no doubt that mammals and reptiles are part of the wild life population of the parish, changes in land use and farming methods seem to have made them less numerous. Older residents will tell of seeing grass snakes in the area near Car Dyke and the railway line. These may have been forced away by the new and nearby industrial estate and housing developments. Foxes move across the agricultural land as they hunt rabbits, hares and other small animals; they are also seen from time to time in and around the Town cemetery and the Banks. Grey squirrels can be seen along the Linear Walk as well as in the cemetery, whilst many house gardens provide a habitat for the now less frequently seen hedgehogs that feast on the slugs and snails that the popular plantain lily (Hosta) garden plants seem to attract.

Surveys of hedgerows, trees and copses have been carried out and show an incredible diversity of trees and shrubs within the parish. Full details of these can be had by going to Natural History Surveys. Information gathered in the hedgerow survey has been used to estimate the ages of the hedges.

If you have any information or queries about Bingham's wildlife contact BHTA.

Credits for the Natural History pages

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