About Bracken House and Selston CommonI purchased Bracken House, Selston after being fortunate to win the jackpot on the National Lottery. I bought the house in September 2008 and we moved in on October 22nd 2008. It was the first house we looked at - we being my wife Sandra and me, Alan. Prior to the win, we lived in a mid-terraced house on Garden Road, Eastwood with our two sons Jamie and Luke. So, it was a big move from a small garden to the six acres we now own.
This web site, however, is not about us, and not about what we get up to in our private lives, it's about what goes on around Bracken House. The weather, the wildlife and the plants will all be featured in this online documentary about our small part of the county of Nottinghamshire. Using my digital camera and my own words, I hope to present a record of our efforts to improve this little piece of England.
Where is Selston Common?Selston Common is situated at the end of Portland Road, at its junction with Annesley Lane. As well as Bracken House and its Grasslands, Millington Springs Nursing Home is also situated on the Common. Behind the nursing home is an area of public open space which does not have any facilities on it and is great for walking the dog or just taking in the fresh air.
A small stream runs through the land and its path can be traced by the line of bushes and trees at the Annesley Lane end of the land. A man made pond can also be found in the hollow near to the stream.
The whole of Selston Common Grasslands has been designated as a site of importance for nature conservation (SINC) and as such, needs to be protected. It is my aim to maintain the land in its natural state, restricting any building work to the area in the immediate vicinity of the house.
What about Bracken House?The house, and the land, are 485 feet above sea level and look out over the Erewash Valley to Jacksdale, Westwood, Ironville, Codnor, Ripley and beyond. The house itself is protected from the cold northerly winds by tall hedgerows and bracken, from which the house gets its name. There is an abundance of bird life in the hedgerows, including blue tits, long tailed tits, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, pigeons and magpies. We have also witnessed a sparrow hawk and a heron. The land has the luxury of full sun all day, and we often have spectacular sunsets and sunrises.
There are five stables to the rear of the property, making this a perfect home for horses, ponies or donkeys. We have two shetland ponies, Billy and Tommy, which enjoy the grazing in the meadows. Previous owners have kept chickens on the land and we have purchased a chicken coop which is a welcome addition. In 2010, the gardens surrounding the house were landscaped and a wildflower meadow, orchard, pond and raised vegetable beds were created. A paddock was also built around the stables and a new drive laid. The three fields surrounding the house can now be sympathetically maintained to protect any rare species.
With six acres to play with, we have the luxury of being able to do more or less what we want on the land. Without any time constraints, the development of Bracken House and the Grasslands can be a long term project to be undertaken at leisure.