Visit to Hadfields Quarry

Visit to Hadfields Quarry at Breedon’s Hope Cement Works

Members of both the Hathersage Rewilding Group (offshoot of the Land Group of Hope Valley Climate Action) and the u3a Environment/Natural History group expressed an interest in visiting this local quarry. We wanted to see Breedon’s restoration work and to find out more about the company’s plans to increase biodiversity.

Adam Bakri, the newly appointed Biodiversity Officer is getting to know the huge site owned by Breedon and evaluate its potential for encouraging wildlife in a wide variety of habitats.

A party of around 25 people were met at the site offices by Adam.  He stressed that the management is very keen to gain the collaboration of local people as volunteers to help monitor and maintain those quarries which are no longer in use. Sorby Natural History Society has recently visited and it is possible that they will carry out a survey to establish what flora and fauna are present on the site. Adam took questions and a member of the u3a group explained the geological features of the site.

Our walk was to Hadfields Quarry and Adam showed us our route on the site map. The quarry is owned by Breedon Hope Cement Works and managed on their behalf by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Still on the edge of a busy working quarry, Hadfields is now a thriving nature reserve of 3 hectares providing many different habitats, including bare rock face, wet flush quarry floor with ponds and ditches, calcareous grassland, woodland edge and scrub, ash woodland and planted broadleaved woodland.

Led by Adam, we set off from the main entrance up Pindale lane, turning left onto the bridleway and into the old Hadfields quarry. Here we were delighted to find many orchids, marsh and hybrids, as well as several types of hawkweed and tiny flowers like eyebright. Wild marjoram was everywhere but few bees seem to have found it. In the marshy area round the pond mace stood tall. Thrushes sang around us and butterflies, particularly ringlets, were seen on low vegetation. This site needs sensitive management to prevent scrub from taking over. Young birch trees are the first to colonise open sites.

Newly hatched ringlet

Next, we passed on to the second disused quarry. The ground here was covered with mosses and low vegetation. A shout of excitement went up when the first of the bee orchids was spotted. Everyone tried to get low to capture a photo of this deceptive beauty. Further on a fragrant orchid was seen.

Bee orchid                   

Fragrant orchid

From the open site we walked through native woodland and on behind the cement works where we found a group of orchids about 2 feet tall! We followed the track towards Bradwell and then down to the village’s community orchard, now well grown and fruiting. Old and local varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry, and even medlar, were planted in 2011 on land owned by Breedon and managed by the Bradwell Community Orchard Group.   We had hoped to catch a glimpse of the peregrines which are nesting on the site but they didn’t appear.

On this occasion, we were not able to visit the shale quarries which are rewilding and where there are lakes as we didn’t have enough time. Walking back to the club house, on the continuation of our tour, we passed a patch of glorious ‘Bradder weed’, the blue sow thistle.

Finally, those of us who were forced to adopt a slower pace, were lucky to see a tree bumble bee resting on a cranesbill flower. When we reached the club house we were treated to mugs of tea and some very good cake in a room overlooking the golf course. We had walked just under 3 miles and seen wonderful examples of how nature creeps back once we humans withdraw.

 Tree bumble bee

 Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/hadfields-quarry

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