Huckford Quarry local nature reserve
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Huckford quarry provided stone for the Wotton Bassett to Patchway railway line (now part of the main London to South Wales line) and many buildings in the area. It has not been used for quarrying for 65 years and today the site has become overgrown with plants, forming an important wildlife habitat. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1993.
The quarry offers a variety of different habitats for plants and animals. It is deep, damp and dark throughout much of the year, making it ideal for ferns, mosses and lichens. Polypody, harts tongue and lady ferns can all be found among old quarry boulders and the shaded woodland banks. If you look up at the quarry face, you can see various layers of rock – mainly sandstone, with layers of shale and silty mudstone. Look carefully and you might find carboniferous plant fossils, ripple marks and mud pebble marks.
The woodland area along the River Frome contains an impressive display of native woodland flowers, including stitchwort, bluebells, violets, foxgloves, yellow archangel and wood anemone. On the slopes grow woodspurge, woodsage, wild arum and wild strawberries.
Go under the impressive Winterbourne viaduct, to the north of the reserve, into One Acre field. This tiny field floods occasionally, leading to an interesting range of flowering plants.
The wider area
The site is on the Frome Valley Walkway, which links the centre of Bristol to the Cotswold Hills, the Cotswold Way national trail and other popular routes. A popular booklet accompanies the 30km (18.5miles) route.
It is one of the many gateways to the Forest of Avon, which covers more than 200 square miles in and around Bristol.
It is owned by the council and managed in partnership with Winterbourne countryside group. You can get leaflets about it from both organisations.
Site status: Local nature reserve, site of nature conservation interest, regionally important geological site
Site owner: South Gloucestershire Council, managed in partnership with Winterbourne conservation group
Local planning authority: South Gloucestershire Council
Area: 2 hectares
Grid reference: ST 656 798