This small nature reserve used to be part of Hermitage House gardens and is so called because it is believed in Tudor times the Bishop of St David’s used the location as a religious retreat. The site was given to the council in 1986 by a Mrs Valance as an open space for the benefit of the people of Mansfield and was given the status of Local Nature Reserve in 2004.
The reserve is dominated by the disused millpond of Hermitage Mill, which is surrounded by mature deciduous woodland of Ash, Oak with the occasional Holly and Yew and with ancient woodland indicators such as Wood Anemone, Bluebell, Lesser Celandine and Dogs Mercury.
Despite the sites small size the pond and river provide ideal habitat for many different types of birds and a total of 46 species have been recorded with 42 of these species having bred. This includes grey heron which can be seen nesting high in the trees on the southern side of the site. Also present are pairs of Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Tit, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.
The Hermitage is also home to the Kings Mill Viaduct, a grade II listed structure, dating from 1817, which was once used to connect Mansfield to the Pinxton Canal. Today, the viaduct provides a panoramic view of the site, and leads onto the neighbouring Kings Mill Reservoir.
Unfortunately the site is not accessible to wheelchair users at present as the only formal access is via a flight of steps leading from Kings Lodge Drive.
Species of interest
- Oak trees
- Wood anemone
- Grey Heron