Forest landscapes - quarried land
Throughout recorded history the northern part of Rockingham Forest has been quarried for ironstone and limestone. The picture on the right shows the remains of a quarry right in the middle of Ancient Woodland. This is in St Mary's Wood, a section of Wakerley Great Wood.
Elsewhere quarrying continues to this day, albeit at a somewhat larger scale than previously! The picture at the top of the page shows Wakerley Quarry currently being worked by Mick George. The area was previously part of the disused Spanhoe airfield, dating from World War II. Before that there were arable fields here but, before that again, this was part of the forest.
Rockingham Forest Vision have identified 15 quarries in the area which have been worked in the 20th or 21st centuries.
Above is another active limestone quarry. Despite being called Collyweston Quarry, it lies south of the A47 and is very close to the village of Duddington and adjacent to Fineshade Woods. It is being worked by Bullimores and work is scheduled for completion very soon. The plan is then to return the area to agricultural use - fields with hedgerows.
This deep hole is part of Augean PLC's Hazardous Waste site, north of Kings Cliffe and east of Fineshade Wood. When the pits are filled they are capped off and made into grassland. Augean are now extending this site. You can see more details of the existing site and their future plans on the Friends of Fineshade website.
This picture was taken from the edge of Easton Hornstocks National Nature Reserve and it shows Cross Leys Quarry, with old workings believed to be owned by Mick George. It appears to have had no active restoration work There are areas of bare rock and sand, regenerating woodland and scrub, and ponds with marginal vegetation.
Here is another quarry that is regenerating naturally. It is a former ironstone quarry on the Bulwick Estate, west of Wakerley Great Wood. There is a bridleway, across the area through scrub and rough grassland habitats. You can read more about conservation work on Bulwick Estate here.
Quarry restoration in and around Old Sulehay Nature Reserve
The Wildlife Trust BCN owns this reserve near the eastern boundary of Rockingham Forest. There is an area of ancient abandoned coppice of Ash, Hazel, Oak and Field Maple, with a diverse ground flora, but other areas of the reserve are associated with quarrying. Stonepit Close was exploited for its limestone, while areas of Ring Haw were quarried for limestone, ironstone and silica clay; the remains of the quarry railway track beds and sidings can still be seen. The area known as the Calcining Banks was used to refine extracted iron ore known as calcined ore.
To maintain the varied habitat structure most of the grassland is grazed with rare-breed sheep and cattle to maintain low soil fertility
Immediately to the south of the reserve is Andrew's Quarry, privately owned, and including several large ponds. (Above and left).
To the north is Stone Hill Quarry, which is owned by Mick George. This is currently being restored to calacareous grassland together with ponds and scrub.
Below are pictures from Rockingham Forest Park - the large area to the west of Old Sulehay Nature Reserve, surrounding the new Landal Green Parks holiday development at Jack's Green. Here an extensive old quarry area has been landscaped and/or left to regenerate as a complimentary landscape feature for the adjacent tourist accommodation .