Barton-under-Needwood is a sand and gravel quarry located next to the A38, south of Burton-on-Trent. It opened in 1972 and covers an area of 290Ha and produces around 500,000 tonnes of sand and gravel a year through two processing plants. The Quartzitic material is extracted from a river terrace deposit alongside the river Trent and is used primarily for concrete and concrete products. Current reserves are around 3.2 million tonnes with a potential extension to the west providing a further seven million tonnes. The quarry lies in the floodplain of the River Trent and is prone to flooding.
Restoration is progressively following mineral extraction of this previously degraded landscape, due to intensive agriculture and river-drainage management. It aims to provide as natural an environment as possible, relating back to the original post glacial landscape of Floodplain Forest and wetlands that would have existed alongside a natural river with braided and backwater channels and oxbow lakes.
With early settlement and some woodland clearance this floodplain landscape would have incorporated such features as Riparian and wet floodplain woodland which fits in with the surrounding National Forest, enclosing open water with wetland margins and island complexes, flood meadows and wood pasture grazing areas.
These varied habitats are rapidly being reproduced and will provide ecosystems for species such as wildfowl and wading birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, such as otter and water vole.
Ongoing nature projects:
Increasing the areas of reedbeds and wet woodlands, which are national habitat priorities. The restoration of the entire wetland complex will create a large nature reserve capable of supporting significant populations of non-target species and of BAP priority species including water vole and otter.
Barn owl boxes have been erected around the site previously and will be replaced/repaired as necessary to ensure they continue to provide nesting sites for a local target species.
Ongoing links with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.