This summer we’ve undertaken some exciting work at Birkhams Quarry, just outside Whitehaven.
As part of their planning permission Marshalls Stancliffe Stone, which operates the sandstone quarry, is required to restore areas once they have finished being worked for stone. At the end of 2016 topsoil from elsewhere on site was spread over the first restoration area. The decision was made not to use plug plants or seed the restoration area but to let it vegetate naturally using the seedbank in the topsoil.
So far this summer we have spent two afternoons working with volunteers recording the species we find on site and beginning to remove plants such as bracken, nettle, dock and thistle that, if left unchecked, might take over and shade out wildflowers and grasses. We’ve recorded over 50 species growing in the area, including birds foot trefoil, mouse-ear, common vetch and cuckoo flower. While working in the quarry we’ve also seen numerous butterflies, bees, flies, ladybirds, toads, frogs and voles.
The site is developing nicely and the variety of species that have already established is encouraging. We’re looking forward to returning over the next few years to keep recording what species we see.