What are SINCs?
Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) are places that are of at least county-level importance for the wildlife they hold. Nottinghamshire SINCs are home to many rare and scarce species, and some are the last fragments of habitats that were once widespread and typical of the Nottinghamshire landscape. Collectively, they form an essential network of corridors and 'stepping stones', allowing the migration and dispersal of species. The survival of these sites is vital to safeguard our wildlife from the pressures of development, agricultural change and climate change.
Sites of importance for wildlife have been identified and protected across the county since 1991 as a result of hard work by many partners, including the Nottinghamshire Biological and Geological Records Centre (NBGRC), Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England (formerly English Nature). Similar designations are used throughout the United Kingdom, although the exact name varies between counties - recently, the term 'Local Wildlife Site' was introduced in national guidance (Defra 2006 - Local Sites: Guildance on their Identification, Selection and Management) to cover all such designations.
How are SINCs selected?
A group of local experts (including individual naturalists and representatives from a range of organisations) with a detailed knowledge of the flora and fauna of Nottinghamshire, called the SINC Panel, researches and produces criteria and thresholds for designating SINCs. Once criteria have been agreed and adopted, the NBGRC then applies them to sites, designating new SINCs where the relevant thresholds are reached.
There are currently just over 1,300 SINCs in Nottinghamshire, covering around 7% of the county. Most are notified for their botanical importance, but new sites are now being selected because of their importance for a range of zoological groups, including birds, mammals, amphibians, repties and invertebrates.
What about Selston Common Grassland's SINC?
Selston Common Grassland had been designated a site of importance for nature conservation long before I bought the land. The earliest documentation I have regarding the SINC was a visit by R G Smith on 18th August 1988 and 14th September 1988 in which he lists all the flora and fauna found on the site.
On 8th July 1997, a survey conducted by Peter Acton at Selston Common Grasslands, site number 1/130, grid reference SK474528 stated:
'Horse grazed pastures with neutral species-rich sward and flush communities. Would appear to be unimproved and thus representative of local grasslands now almost all converted to arable or species-poor leys. Contrasts with the adjoining acid grasslands of Holly Hill (2/194). Valuable habitat for farmland birds and a wildlife reservoir close to a small town. Sighted a yellowhammer and small copper butterfly.'
This report also lists all the flora and fauna found on the site.
In his notes, R G Smith says of Holly Hill (SINC 2/194):
'Selston Common (Holly Hill) [is] an interesting area of acidic grassland of an upland character becoming overrun by scrub and ruderal species - of particular interest is the abundance of achillea ptarmica over some of the site.'
Documents - click on a thumbnail for a larger view
Selston Area Wildlife Sites
Protected Sites Plan
Information on SINCs from a leaflet produced by Nottingham County Council Senior Nature Conservation Officer Nick Crouch for the Nottinghamshire SINC panel - download here (pdf format).