Operator: CEMEX UK in partnership with the Norfolk Fly Fishing Association
Size: 62 hectares
Restored to: Nature Conservation/Contribution to Biodiversity and Recreation/Leisure
Swanton Morley Quarry is a 62 hectare site in the Wensum Valley, Norfolk, which was previously worked for sand and gravel. The river Wensum, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the presence of the white-clawed crayfish, flows through the middle of the area.
Restoration was carried out sensitively so as to complement the river habitat and not to endanger the white-clawed crayfish population. A series of reed or tree-fringed lakes were constructed, providing cover to wildfowl, and a variety of other habitats have been formed including lowland mixed deciduous woodland, wet woodland, reed beds and riverside vegetation. In between the lakes, sections of existing woodland were left in place, which give the impression of overall maturity to the restoration.
The site is inhabited by otter and there is also evidence of reed bunting, marsh tit, song thrush, water vole, bittern and bats. Habitat suitable for invertebrates was also created in the latter stages of the final restoration.
Several of the lakes are now owned and managed by the Norfolk Fly Fishing Association and the Dereham & District Angling Club. An interconnecting permissive footpath and bridleway network, which link into local communities, have opened the site up to the public.
The restoration area is also of archaeological importance as the largest Romano-British burial area in Norfolk was found there.
Swanton Morley’s scale, maturity and combination of existing and developing habitats make it an impressive site for biodiversity, which the public can also enjoy.