Bayston Hill quarry produces up to a million tonnes of stone each year. As part of an extension in 2008, the company agreed to create a large new screening bank. The new landform was carefully designed to fit into the landscape and has a well-used footpath along its length.
During construction, top soil was removed from the small areas of woodland and acid grassland, temporarily stored, and placed on the new bund in areas where acid grassland and woodland can develop. Key species to be translocated were Bluebell, Field Pepperwort and Smith's Pepperwort.
At first sight this very large screening bank is little different to any of the others in wide use throughout the industry. However, ask an ecologist to take a closer look at what has been achieved at Bayston Hill and you soon recognise that this bank is special. While performing an important screening role, it also manages to incorporate 20 hectares of priority habitat on what was previously farmland.
The award entry is a joint one with Shropshire Council which has been a partner in the project along with various local wildlife groups. After only a short time in existence, the bank is making a major contribution to Shropshire’s biodiversity targets.
One of the highlights here was a community hay-spreading exercise. When initial seeding of the grassland didn’t produce the diversity of plant species being sought, everyone got together to spread green hay that had been harvested from a local nature reserve. With species like yellow rattle already appearing, the effort has clearly been worthwhile.
Interpretation of the site has been provided by a panel along the main ridge footpath which, in addition to highlighting the wildlife to be seen, includes information on geology and archaeology. The archaeological investigations resulted in the discovery of an Iron Age road which is believed to be the oldest recorded engineered road and has thrown into question the belief that Roman Invaders introduced engineered roads to Britain.
Species benefitting include: linnet, skylark and yellowhammer.