The 55ha sand and gravel pit was operational between 1998 and 2010 with majority of site restored in 2011. Final restoration of the plant site took  place in 2014. The site includes:  the wooded corridor of the River Blackwater to the north adjacent to residential areas beyond; an area of former silt lagoons which has mostly regenerated with a mix of willow scrub, rough grassland and marginal wetland habitat with some ephemeral ponds and scrapes to benefit newts and other amphibians; an extensive area of wet grassland which has been restored in a series of phases since 2003; a lower lying which for most of the year forms a permanent area of standing open water.

Habitat, flora & fauna description: 

Habitats to be developed include:

  • Wetland (including river and streams, fen, marsh, swamp and linear reedbed)
  • Lowland unimproved neutral grassland / Floodplain grazing marsh
  • Standing open water and reedbeds
  • Lowland mixed Broadleaved Woodland Wet Woodland                          

BAP species to be encouraged are:

  • Otter
  • Bats (esp.Daubenton’s)
  • Wintering wildfowl spp. esp. Common snipe,
  • Breeding birds eg. Little ringed plover, skylark, reed bunting
  • Dragonflies/damselflies (Odonata)

Ongoing nature projects:

The site has already made a significant contribution to the wetland biodiversity of the Blackwater valley and is recognised as one of the area’s finest sites for birdwatching.  The restored land is designated as SNCI and will continue to develop as a significant local resource especially given its proximity to high local population.