Quarry turns into a wildlife paradise

An abandoned Peak District quarry has been described as “an ecological paradise” by wildlife experts.

Six small mammal species, including shrew, vole and mouse, were recorded at Tarmac’s Buxton Lime and Cement’s Long Sidings – unusual for such a site.

The Derbyshire Mammal Group carried out a survey earlier this year and recorded Common Shrew, Pygmy Shrew, Water Shrew, Field Vole, Bank Vole and Wood Mouse.

Long Sidings is an old settling lagoon from a previous quarry that was filled in by the mid-1970s and was allowed to grass over and return to nature.

Vicki Shenton, Tarmac’s environmental manager, said: “At Tarmac we’re really keen to understand the flora and fauna we have in and around our sites which is why, here at Buxton, we have arranged for various surveys to be carried out.”

Stephen Middleton, ecologist, said: “Long Sidings quarry is quite simply an ecological paradise.

“It is without doubt, a unique oasis of flora amid a desert of pampered fields.

“Last year, Dr Alan Willmott, the County Plant Recorder and I undertook a botanical survey between March and September. We identified over 170 species of vascular plants including shrubs and trees.

“Putting it into context, that’s around ten per cent of the total number of wild flower and tree species in the whole of the UK!”

Steve Lonsdale, Derbyshire Mammal Group, said:

“This was a good site to survey, and had good populations of small mammals — as good as many nature reserves.

“It is unusual to find all three species of shrew together, and is our first live mammal survey in Derbyshire where we have done so.

“Altogether, we caught six different species, which is also unusual in a two-day survey session at a single site.”