Nature takes over former Quarries
Living in Heath and Reach for twenty-seven years, next to a corner of Sheepcote Quarry, I have seen a lot of changes. When we came, Sheepcote Quarry was a huge hole around 60ft deep. It is now filled in, grassed over and a haven for wildlife – foxes, deer, badgers, the occasional slow worm and a tawny owl that roosts in our oak tree, to name a few. Part of Stone Lane Quarry now forms Heath and Reach Sports Association field, though the footpath that used to cross it has yet to be restored – nevertheless a far cry from when Bryants Lane was closed while stabilisation work was carried out to prevent the lane falling into the quarry. Parts of Bryants Lane and Reach Lane Quarries are now inactive, and while I regret the loss of paths that used to cross them (and the superb blackberries that grew there), the footpaths and hedges around the quarries have become home to a huge range of wildflowers, birds and animals, some of which are quite rare (bee orchids, small tortoiseshell butterflies and several cuckoos for example). As restoration continues, hopefully the wildlife will continue to flourish, and we will get our footpaths back.