Ardley Wood Quarry
Know before you go
Parking informationHard verge just before railway bridge
There is a network of small paths that visitors are free to explore, taking care with the undulating terrain. Undulating, mostly firm and flat; steep embankment to south; kissing gates.
Undulating, mostly firm and flat; steep embankment to south;
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitDecember to August
About the reserve
This 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 give Ardley Wood Quarry archaeological interest too.
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, and later the purple flowers of the autumn gentian are usually seen on the quarry floor.
This warm, sheltered site is good for butterflies, which are not deterred by the occasional passing train. You might be able to catch sight 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, woodland birds nest in the trees. Listen out for long-tailed tits, chiffchaff, willow warbler and bullfinch.