Operator: Hanson UK
The Stafford Farm area of West Knighton quarry has successfully been restored back to its original use as high quality agricultural land. The quarry yielded nearly 2 million tonnes of sand and gravel over its 11 years of operational life. A landscape of small mixed broadleaved woodlands and ancient hedgerows, which also encompasses intensively farmed arable, dairy and pig enterprises, can be found in the immediate vicinity of the quarry, with high quality salad crops grown to the north.
In addition to state-of-the-art soil handling practices, the innovative transplanting of entire hedgerows from original ground levels down onto the low level restoration landform, has enabled a natural looking landscape to be created. This has significantly reduced the steep and incongruous gradients that could have resulted from the proposed retention of hedgerows at original ground level.
The restored fields fit well into the cropping rotation, and even the remaining low lying and less productive soakaway areas fulfil an ecological function in providing habitat for skylarks and lapwings.
A bridleway provides public access across the site and the majority of the worked and restored land is visible from viewpoints along the public highway.
There have been undoubted gains through the restoration of this site, which delivers agricultural produce to satisfy the growing demand for food. Moreover, the hedge translocation works have enabled the preservation of existing hedgerow flora and fauna to support biodiversity. The excellent restoration landform, gentle gradients and re-creation of an attractive farmed landscape offer wider long-term benefits to the public.