Habitat restoration at Quarrington Quarry, October 2019

Yesterday’s attempt to look at what’s growing on the grassland being restored on recent quarry spoil at Quarrington Hill was both abortive and revealing, as the image below shows.  The man in the high-vis outfit was running a robotic mower back and forth across the hillside!  I didn’t feel I should be too obvious about photographing him and there seemed little point in looking at what was still flowering on the older spoil with nothing to compare it with.

One man and his flailbot

It explains a lot of what I’ve been seeing here – I know it’s not the first time he has been out with the mower. In June I noticed that the field had been cut and that the flowering Fumitory, Charlock, Dame’s Violet and thistles which had dominated the scene in April and May had been largely replaced by close-cropped grass.  By July, a crop of tiny Field pansies had appeared amongst the grass and some of the larger rosette plants were reappearing and, by August, thistles were flowering again alongside more tiny field plants such as Fat-hen and Knotgrass. 

I’ll be very interested to see what kind of diversity the site boasts by this time next year – some of my early assumptions of a rather laissez faire approach to the restoration here may have been too hasty!

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