A display at Papplewick Village Hall on Saturday showcased the achievements of The Friends of Moor Pond Wood in unearthing the area’s archaeological heritage.
The conservation group is celebrating the completion of the first phase of a £29,500 Heritage Lottery-funded project in the woods, between Linby and Papplewick, which contain a system of ponds and channels that fed water to cotton mills in the 18th century.
After the milling operation finished in 1828, the site slowly returned to nature and is now a wildlife haven for birds and bats.
Friends chairman Stephen Walker said: “The grant was awarded to us in May 2014 and enabled us to carry out an archaeological exploration of a pond at Dam Banks. It was created by the mills and was later filled in. We wanted to establish the depth and extent of the pond.
“We found the surface of the floor and we have landscaped the ground to reflect that surface and carried the path over it with a bridge. At Grange Cottages we uncovered a sluice and we have been conserving the stone so we can leave it uncovered.
“We are also working on interpretation boards for visitors and improving access.”
The group has also commissioned research into the area’s industrial past.
Mr Walker, a retired teacher, has been involved with the group since it started in 2000 as part of the parish council’s millenium project. He said: “In 1750 the population of Papplewick and Linby was was less than 200. By 1800 it was 1500 to 2000. It’s an interesting point in history because it’s the start of the industrial revolution.”
The event was attended by about 50 people, including MP Mark Spencer, crime commissioner Paddy Tipping, councillors Pauline Allen and Meredith Lawrence, the mayor of Gedling, and Geoff Nickolds of the Heritage Lottery Fund.