FOBHS@ 2019



Volunteers have been busy preparing and planting selected sites around the Headstocks with wildflowers.

Thousands of seeds were scattered in the bid to create a stunning display of indigenous plants later in the year.

The Friends working party also took the opportunity to clear footpaths and carry out a litter picking sweep of the whole site.

Among upcoming projects for the group is a plan to install new interpretation boards to explain to visitors the significance of the Headstocks site.

Friends of Brinsley Headstocks – HEDGEHOG INITIATIVE

We were shocked at the statistics that Great Britain has lost 96.6% of it’s hedgehog population in the last 70 years.

We have never seen a hedgehog on the site, but then we tend not to visit after dark !.  We are considering approaching a wildlife rescue centre to release hedgehogs on site following their recuperation, but this would be unethical if we have a population already resident at the Headstocks.

This is where you come in – we would value your reports of any recent sightings of hedgehogs on or around the Headstocks nature reserve.  We are also in the process of liasing with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for help in surveying methods for this species.

It is vital that we prevent hedgehogs from becoming extinct both locally and nationally, which is a very real possibility.

January 2017.


Members of the Friends group put their artistic skills to the test in the annual Underwood Scarecrow Festival.

Last year the Friends fashioned the Bill & Ben characters  –  made, naturally enough, out of flower pots. This year’s entry, using the same materials, features a Country & Western musical theme.

  Common-spotted Orchid - Report is by John Eyre


  There are 52 species of hardy orchids in the UK and probably the   most numerous and widespread is the Common-spotted Orchid.   That said, it is still a very local distribution and there are very few   areas in the Parish of Brinsley where it grows. It can suddenly   appear and then disappear in subsequent years.

  I found three plants of this species in 2017, which were the first   ever seen at the Headstocks site. Unfortunately, none appeared in   2018. I was therefore thrilled to discover this plant on 18 June   2019, approximately 20 feet from where they last occurred.

  To maintain the habitat for these orchids, we need a sensitive   management plan which involves cutting the meadow in   July/August and shaking the clippings (to disperse the seed)   before removing them ( to reduce soil fertility).


 FOBHS Raise the Green Standard

Mayor of Broxtowe, Cllr Michael Brown, has praised the committed individuals behind Brinsley’s success in retaining its Green Flag Community Award. He thanked all the volunteers for the time and effort they had invested in the project which was a wonderful example of community teamwork.

He was speaking at a flag raising ceremony to celebrate winning of the award – the fifth consecutive year the work of the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks has been internationally recognised.

The Friends have been instrumental in helping assist the transformation of the former Brinsley colliery headstocks from a cauldron of industrial activity into a site of local heritage and literary interest as well as environmental regeneration.


A Green Flag spokesman said the Green Flag Community Award was the international standard for parks and green spaces. “It brings with it a vast amount of prestige. It is also an example of civic achievement which provides communities with a great sense of pride.”


FOBHS Chairman Ken Hamilton echoed the Mayor’s appreciation of the volunteer’s hard work. Liaising with fellow environmental groups and local councils he said the Friends managed the site to recreate an appealing habitat for birds, plants, trees, fungi, moths, insects and more.

As well as wildlife descriptions, the mining heritage of the site is also recorded on information boards, more of which, said Mr Hamilton, were planned for the future as the site attracted ever increasing visitors.


The voluntary work of the Friends has received a glowing endorsement from independent judges when they assessed the site for a Green Flag Community Award.

In their feedback report to the Friends they wrote, “A great site that provides a valued resource to the local community.

Judges added,”The Friends group do a great job, are clearly motivated and want to improve the site where they can to benefit both people and wildlife.

“Keep up the good work.”

Following their examination judges remarked that the site presented a good first impression and was welcoming. However they did comment that signage both on the road and on the site could be improved and that it would be helpful to have an updated interpretation board showing the footpath network.

They commented that a good record of flora and fauna was maintained by one of the volunteers which would be beneficial to use to see how the site responds year on year to management prescriptions of each management compartment.

To ensure resilience and succession in the Friends the judges felt more members would be helpful possibly recruited through a specific promotion supported by Brinsley Parish Council, Notts Wildlife Trust and Broxtowe Borough Council.

Judges also felt it would be good to encourage the return of the Festival, even as a bi-annual event.   


The fame of the Brinsley Headstocks is spreading thanks to a local floral artist.

Visitors to the craft marquee at the annual Southwell Ploughing Match were treated to a handmade model of the headstocks, alongside foliage and greenery.

It was an entry in the Floral Art section and its creator, horticultural enthusiast Mr David Lowe of Underwood, was awarded a certificate for his efforts.


 Members of the Notts Fungi Group paid a visit to the Headstocks site and came away literally with a basket full of specimens.

In a little over an hour the enthusiasts, aided by Headstocks members, recorded over 40 different types of fungi.

This brings to almost 100 the overall total of species found on the Headstocks site.

Equipped with magnifying glasses and reference books the specimens were identified and recorded.

 “It was a remarkable mornng and just served to underline the value of the site as a nature reserve,” said a Headstocks spokesman.


Following the recent visit of members of the Notts Fungi Group their initial report shows the wide variety of tongue twisting specimens to be found on the Headstocks site.

Their information will be a useful addition when the Headstocks renews its bid to retain Green Flag Community Award status.

With thanks to the Fungi Group for their time and expertise. Their report is set out below:-

File: C:\Users\Nigel\OneDrive\2019web\Reports\Fungi Survey List.pdf


Volunteers working on the Brinsley headstocks project have enjoyed first class support from other community organisations in the area, members have been told.

Speaking at the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks annual meeting, Chair Ken Hamilton said that in return the Friends had supported initiatives of other community groups.

Sponsors ranged from Brinsley Community Café to insurance company Aviva. The Group had participated in the Underwood Scarecrow Festival and also the village’s Christmas event where they were voted the most popular display.

Most pleasing to report was that the Headstocks had again been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Community Award. The meeting heard that Treasurer Colin Barson had finalised the 2020 bid for international recognition.

Mr Hamilton summarised the group’s objectives as a) to develop the site’s potential as a wildlife habitat and b) to be responsible custodians of the UK’s last remaining timber tandem headstocks.

To achieve these ambitions the Friends took part in a wide range of activities – hosting visits from local civic dignitaries, forming working parties and litter picking sweeps, attending training courses and helping plant some 2,000 bulbs on the site alongside 2kg of wildflower seeds.

Looking to the future the Friends will be working on retaining water in the top pond, new direction signs and an interpretation board setting out the site’s heritage.

Unanimously re-elected were: Chair Ken Hamilton, Vice Chair Val Wakeling, Secretary Stephanie Wilhardt, Treasurer Colin Barson.

This photo features the Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir lined up in front of the Headstocks

Which will feature on the cover of their newly released Centenary Album.

We’ve done it again – six in a row!

Chairman Ken Hamilton and Friends Member Nora Harper check out the Community Award flag.

Dateline: October 2020.

More than 2,000 green spaces across the country including the Headstocks have achieved the Green Flag international quality mark in a special year when millions of people have seen the value of having great quality green spaces on their doorstep.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

“It is very gratifying for the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks community group that their hard work and commitment has been recognised and appreciated, both by the Green Flag Community Award judges and members of the public” said Chairman Ken Hamilton.

“To win the flag for the sixth consecutive year is a magnificent result for us and our partners, Broxtowe Borough Council”.

“The combination of a heritage site with a nature reserve offers diverse opportunities for visitors to savour the serenity of the area with its ever changing landscape through the seasons,” added the Chairman.

Mixed together with an abundance of flora, fauna and bird life, the site also hosts a pair of wooden tandem headstocks - the last remaining of their type in the UK- which operated at Brinsley Colliery where members of D.H.Lawrence’s family once worked.

Commenting on Brinsley Headstocks success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, the Friends have achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. We set the standard for the management of parks and beaches, inspire people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. We run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit

Any green space that is free to enter and accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. Awards are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew their Green Flag Award status. A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups. Green Heritage Site accreditation is judged on the treatment of the site’s historic features and the standard of conservation


 Despite ending prematurely because of the weather, a community event on the Brinsley Headstocks site, held on September 12, was pronounced a “great success.”

Organised by the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks it was supported by the Eastwood Collieries Male Voice Choir and members of the congregation of Brinsley Parish Church. Both organisations put on impressive promotional displays alongside similar information boards from the Friends outlining their work and the history of the site.

The event was billed as a table top sale and community picnic and by the end of the day it had raised over £100. In addition to the sale of Headstocks merchandise a couple of local walkers gave generous donations to boost the fund raising efforts .Among visitors was the Deputy Mayor of Broxtowe, Cllr David Grindell and his escort who entered into the spirit of the day bringing their own picnic.

A spokesman for the Friends said the event was a tentative step towards establishing a new “normal” for the operation of the Friends in light of the Covid pandemic. In coming weeks they would also consider a programme of meetings and other activities.

“We would like to sincerely thank those people who took the trouble to support us on a less than perfect afternoon. Thank you.”


 Green Flag Success for 2021

We’ve done it again!  Brinsley’s volunteers can celebrate international recognition of the village’s environmental endeavors.

The coveted Community Green Flag Award can fly over the Brinsley Headstocks Nature Reserve - for the seventh consecutive year.

Environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy, formed 25 years ago, seeks to ensure parks and green spaces are managed to the highest standards through its annual Green Flag Award scheme. There are various categories of awards and in the case of Brinsley it was selected for the Green Flag Community Award in recognition of the quality of the site managed by volunteer members of the local community in partnership with Broxtowe Borough Council.

The Headstocks site is marketed as a key feature of the area’s coal mining heritage, housing the only remaining timber tandem headstocks in the country. It’s heritage status is further enhanced as the father and uncle of Eastwood’s controversial author D.H.Lawrence both worked at Brinsley Colliery. The Headstocks site is also a designated Local Nature Reserve in which more than 80 species of birds, over 230 moths and butterflies, 300 plants and flowers and more than 100 fungi have been recorded, evidence that the former pit and colliery workings are gradually re-wilding.

Added to this is a series of footpaths meandering through the site, a picnic area and a carved  Phoenix tree commemorating the resurrection of the site from work place to wildlife haven as well as the connection to Lawrence.

Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton commented, “I can’t speak highly enough of the Friends. With the backing of local councils and environmental groups they have worked hard on regenerating the site in a sympathetic and environmentally compatible manner.”

He added that the Friends were fully inclusive and that new volunteers would always be made welcome.

October 2021


Mayor of Broxtowe and Friends Chairman sort out a knotty problem with the 2021/22 flag.

Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton and Broxtowe Mayor Cllr Richard MacRae

prepare to raise the latest flag.

Mayor of Broxtowe Cllr Richard Macrae together with council leader Cllrs Milan Radulovic MBE join the Friends

for the first raising of the new flag.




In an intense session just before Christmas some 4,000 bulbs and plants were planted in various locations across the Headstocks site. The work was carried out by members of the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks group alongside volunteers recruited by Broxtowe Borough Council.

By diversifying the sites’ plant base it is hoped to attract additional plant and wildlife species. “It is part of the on-going diversification and re-wilding of the former Brinsley colliery site,” said Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton.

The latest planting project comprised:-

3,000 Snakeshead Fritillaries

250 wild garlic

500 Winter Aconite

250 Wood Anemone             

Mr Hamilton added that the Notts Fungi group had paid another visit to the  Headstocks to document the rich variety of species now to be found on the site. Later this year it is hoped that the County Recorder of Bryophytes (mosses and liverwort) will visit to identify and record the many different moss varieties at the Headstocks.


Thousands of snowdrops are on the verge of flowering in the Vine woodland. There is no public access into the woods but the main footpath close to the car park offers good views of the seasonal display.

    Jan 2022.


Like many community organisations, the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks group were obliged to change their working practices over the past two years to take account of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns.

Although outdoor works such as planting and litter picking continued – albeit at a reduced rate – indoor activities were scaled down in compliance with government guidelines. It was for this reason that the 2021 Zoom AGM took the decision to suspend collection of annual membership fees.

Now that the days of severely restricted movement and social interaction are gradually disappearing, the Friends are keenly looking forward to kick starting a planned programme of improvements across the site. To help fund these works the group is asking former members to renew their subscriptions – and also encourage new people to sign up.

Friends Treasurer, Colin Barson, advised that the 2022 AGM agreed new subscription rates:

Adults: £5.00

Children (16 and under) £3.00

Family (all at same address) £15.00

“Unless their circumstances have changed we will assume contact details for existing members remain valid. Anyone wishing to join should contact me for a membership application, said Mr Barson. He added that people should let him know how they wanted to pay their subs and he would arrange collection. Receipts would be sent to applicants with a valid email address.

Tel: 01773 781623    email:

March 2022.


The Friends once again entered into the spirit of community events, taking part in the now annual Underwood and Bagthorpe Scarecrow Festival.

Theme of the Festival was Spies and Detectives with the Friends take on Nature Watch being in the form of a Sir David Attenborough lookalike “spying” on the antics of mother nature.

Visitors had to locate and identify lots of scarecrows hidden around the two villages.

“We’ve had success in the past,” said Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton but it wasn’t to be this year. Nonetheless it was good that we were able to support a local community group and look forward to doing so in years to come”.

He added that the Friends would be holding an awareness day and table top sale at the Headstocks site on Sunday 15th May.

May, 2022.


No, we’ve not won the Eurovision song contest but we have picked up the Green Flag Community Award – for the Eighth successive year.

It’s a triumph for the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks and the local councils and supporters groups who work year in and year out to help fulfil the objectives of the site.

The acknowledgement comes from the Green Flag Award Scheme which is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy which in turn sets the benchmark standard for the management of parks, beaches and open green spaces.

Friends Chairman, Ken Hamilton, said the volunteers should rightly feel proud of what they had achieved for Brinsley. “It is an on-going project which is seeking to create a local leisure and learning resource to be enjoyed by the whole community. The site features:-

The last remaining timber tandem headstocks in the UK.

Nature trails and a designated picnic area.

An introduction to Brinsley’s 700 year mining heritage.

A three dimensional tree carving depicting the area’s history.

The link between Brinsley pit and the family of Eastwood author D.H.Lawrence.

An ever diversifying landscape attracting increasing numbers of flora, fauna and wildlife.


July 2022


An anonymous wellwisher has donated The Friends of Brinsley Headstocks a financial gift in recognition of their environmental work in the village.

When Friends Treasurer Colin Barson emptied his mail box he came across an envelope

marked “Friends of Brinsley Headstocks” inside which was £50 in bank notes alongside a note

explaining that the donor’s mother enjoyed the mineral line adjacent to the headstocks site. The note added that “no further correspondence” was required.

   “ It is an incredibly generous gesture, much appreciated by the group,”said Mr Barson. “Although we can’t thank them personally I am sure the message will get back that their support is much valued.”

He added, “If members of the family are reading this they can be assured their gift will be invested wisely In the restoration of the Headstocks site.”

August 2022


Representatives of the Friends group collecting their award at a National Ceremony held at the

National Arboretum.