Chipping Sodbury quarry produces around 900,000 tonnes of carboniferous limestone a year. It supplies construction materials to projects ranging from major motorway repair schemes to local building works.
The 500 acre quarry sits on a ridge of limestone stretching north to Wickwar and Cromhall. It includes Barnhill quarry which was finished in the mid-1950s and for the last 60 years has lain empty. Part of the Barnhill site has been designated as a geological site of special scientific interest (SSSI). The southern end has been restored for housing and shopping.
Quarrying operations are centred on Southfields, which is now fully worked out, but contains all the stone processing machinery. The rock is being dug at Hampstead Farm to the east of Wickwar Road. The workings have recently crossed Brinsham Stream to the north and will eventually progress west towards Yate Rocks. This area contains a further 30 years of reserves.
An area of broad-leaved woodland known as Ridge Woods and smaller areas of grassland occupy a ridge on the eastern edge of Yate, bordering Barnhill quarry. The Brinsham stream
corridor supports areas of dense scrub, tall herb, broad leaved semi-natural woodland, species rich calcareous grassland vegetation, the latter associated with rocky carboniferous outcrops left exposed following a previous phase of mineral working.
Land to the east of Hampstead Farm includes an area which has been used for the deposit of quarry waste and overburden and which contains a series of shallow scrapes and permanent ponds.
Chipping Sodbury quarry has the potential to contribute to UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitats for mesotrophic water, woodland and grassland through the restoration of quarry benches, the excavation voids and quarry waste tips.
On cessation of quarrying the excavated voids will mainly fill with water to create mesotrophic water bodies.
The quarry has a population of Great Crested Newts associated with part of the site used to tip low grade material at Hampstead Farm. The development of the tip means that an EPS licence from Natural England has been granted to capture and move the newts. This required digging of a series of new newt ponds and wetland features which are being used by newts despite having only been in place for two years.
Ongoing nature projects:
Quarry benches are being soiled and either planted with linear native broadleaf woodland strips to provide bat and bird feeding corridors or left unsoiled to create low fertility calcareous grassland habitat for invertebrates.
Quarry waste tips are being landscaped, soiled and restored to a mixture of grassland meadows sown with a native seed mix and native broadleaf woodland and hedgerows