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Work Begins on New Nature Reserve

April 24, 2009
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Over the past few months, work has begun in partnership with Aggregate Industries to create a new nature reserve at Chard Junction Quarry. To find out what we have done, click to read more.

 

Laying a path at the quarry

Laying a path at the quarry

In 2006, The Aggregates Industry gave £120,000 to The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) to facilitate TWT’s involvement in the BBC’s Breathing Places Campaigns. The Aggregate Industry is highly committed to ensuring that their activities protect biodiversity as much as possible and by working with TWT, it guarantees that that priority species and habitats are managed effectively and the wildlife value of the sites is truly optimized.

The quarry site before our work began

The quarry site before our work began

An agreement was made in November 2008 with DWT to transform the Sheep Field part of Chard Junction Quarry which is no longer in working use into a brand new nature reserve for the benefit of both biodiversity and the local community. Since then, a number of volunteer work parties from a wide range of organisations including DWT have set to work in developing the site and surveying to draw up species lists. The site will be reviewed for SNCI status later in the year.

steps

Creation of the steps in March

On an uncharacteristically warm day in January, I took part in one of the first work parties to the quarry with our main mission being to clear the way for a permissive path and an access gate and to start distributing the aggregate for the path.

path

Laying the path

We arrived at the site after a bumpy journey across Marshwood Vale in the DWT van and after the routine safety chat and a quick brief by our leader for the day, Joy, we split up into groups to tackle different tasks. My job was to slash away scrub to clear the way for a path whilst the men took on the slightly more bravado task of chain sawing the trees to clear the space for a proposed bird hide. The brush was taken to block access to a dangerous quick sand area of the quarry and we formed an orderly procession, each of us dragging behind one tree to meet its final resting place. I couldn’t help thinking of a strange sort of tree funeral as we solemnly walked in single file.

Tree procession

Tree procession

Time for tea, however our lively chatter soon became looks of horror as thundering along past us came a beast of a tractor which proceeded to dump a mountainous (well not quite, but you would have though so if you had to shift it) pile of aggregate, ready for us to mould into a path to lead across the boggy area of the site. Shovels at the ready….

Dumping the aggregate

Dumping the aggregate

Manning a spade each, we took it in turns to fill a wheelbarrow of material and run it along to make the path. It was tiring work, but after refreshing ourselves with some more tea and some of Joy’s amazing carrot and coriander soup (move over New Covent Garden) we soon had the energy to complete the path.

Tea and Soup

Tea and Soup

The work did not stop there, and following Joy who was marching on ahead enthusiastically, we climbed the hill to another area where we cleared more scrub for a gate to be fitted. I admit to being completely exhausted at the end of the day. Who wants to pay for a gym session when you can get a free workout and help improve biodiversity at the same time!!

fence

Volunteers from Dorset and Somerset Wildlife Trusts set to work clearing the way for the gate

Further work parties have since installed 2 bird hides, hedges and some stepped areas and as the pictures show below, it’s all looking very exciting.

One of the new hides

One of the new hides

 

 

A bird watcher's paradise

A bird watcher's paradise

Bardon Aggregates are organising an Open Day for the Chard Junction Quarry Nature Reserve in June. Quarry staff will be on hand to conduct guided walks around the quarry site and Joy, along with Simon Wiltshire, Biodiversity and Restoration Adviser for Aggregates Industries, will conduct guided walks around the Nature Reserve.

Come on in!

Come on in!

Please contact Joy Wallis at jwallis@dorsetwildlife.co.uk or on 01305 264 620 to get involved in future work parties.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2009 12:25 pm

    I’m not sure who “you” are (I’m pretty sure you aren’t Steve), but a great blog post and great to see how the quarry is progressing. This should encourage loads of people to volunteer for their local projects with DWT.

  2. Steve permalink
    April 24, 2009 12:35 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Correct, it wasn’t me – it’s one of Jess’s blogs with an update of the work she has been doing out of Brooklands.

    It is a lovely site and I for one am really looking forward to seeing it develop, along with the local Community group involvement.

    Steve

  3. Chris permalink
    April 27, 2009 10:26 pm

    Thanks Jess – that was really interesting. I’ve often walked around a nature reserve but never really thought about how the paths and steps and gates and things get there. I’d assumed that a team of ‘professional’ workers were brought in with the help of one or two volunteers – now I appreciate that it could well be mainly volunteer work. Makes me tired to think about it!

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