A natural treasure-trove with an abundance of birds and butterflies
The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is aware of the auction of Ardley Quarry by owners Viridor. Since 1983 BBOWT has managed the land on an agreement, originally with Blue Circle Cement, and invested considerable resources in the nature reserve. BBOWT would prefer to continue to use our expertise to manage the site as a nature reserve in the future. Ardley Quarry is a rich mix of different habitats including scrub, woodland and grassland. Warm and sheltered, the site is especially good for butterflies, and has thriving colonies of grizzled skippers, dingy skippers and green hairstreaks.
This old quarry and nearby railway cutting have geological features of national importance - as well as abundant wildlife. The layered bare limestone rock faces give a fascinating insight into the site's Jurassic past (more than 160 million years ago). Medieval earthworks show Ardley Quarry's more recent historical interest (from just a few centuries ago) as well.
A rich mix
Scrub, woodland and rough grassland make up the diverse array of habitats. Several seasonal ponds (which dry out in summer) provide breeding places for frogs and great crested newts. Enjoy the first signs of spring with cowslips, primroses, blue bugle flowers and a carpet of violets. In summer, look out for the common spotted orchid and bee orchid.
This warm, sheltered site is good for butterflies, which are not deterred by the occasional passing trains. There are good colonies of grizzled skipper, dingy skipper and green hairstreak butterflies, especially near the quarry floor. Marbled white butterflies can be spotted in the taller grassy areas.
Wonders of the woods
As well as the plentiful butterflies all around the site, munjtac deer forage in the woods, and woodland birds nest in the trees. Listen out for long-tailed tits, chiffchaff, willow warbler and bullfinch.
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Woodland
- Bee Orchid, Bugle, Common Spotted orchid, Cowslip, Primrose, Water Mint, Wild liquorice, Brown Argus, Comma, Common Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Green Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Frog, Great Crested Newt, Common Lizard, Grass Snake, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Warbler, Red Fox, Weasel