Aggregate Industries and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust create 'nature reserve in the making'

A Staffordshire quarry formerly operated by Aggregate Industries has been restored to a wetland habitat in conjunction with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

Tucklesholme quarry – located five miles south-west of Burton-upon-Trent – was purchased by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust in 2013, and in 2018 Aggregate Industries ceased mineral extraction and restoration works began. It is the second opening of an Aggregate Industries quarry-turned-nature-reserve this year, following the opening of Ripon City Wetlands in May.

Tim Claxton, Regional Estates Manager at Aggregate Industries, said: “To have two quarry restorations in the space of weeks is incredibly rare, and is testament to our commitment to making sure our sites serve a purpose at the end of their lives.

“We worked closely with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to create a tailored environment for a wide array of species. We’re looking forward to seeing our former site becoming a new home for an abundance of wildlife.”

The new array of habitats at Tucklesholme includes extensive reedbeds which attract birds like ringed plover, oystercatcher, and the reclusive bittern. The reeds also act as a filter for the water they are rooted in, improving water quality and boosting the food supply for fish and birds.

The project also deliberately limited the numbers of trees planted in order to allow species to thrive with a reduced threat from predators, while also creating an open nature reserve for visitors to enjoy. Channels have also been dug around the site to provide additional, seasonal wetlands whenever the nearby river rises.

Jeff Sim, Senior Conservation Manager at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This year marks Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s 50th birthday and this is a great way to mark it. We are hopeful of Tucklesholme developing into one of our finest nature reserves and a place for a wide array of wildlife for many years to come.

“We have a real hope that Tucklesholme will one day be the breeding home of bitterns – who rely on habitats like reedbeds to breed and thrive.”

Tucklesholme is part of a wider project to transform former quarries in the region to create a wetland network dubbed ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

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