Gelligaer quarry is a 23Ha site near Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil, set high above the valleys of South Wales on the edge of the rough moorland of Gelligaer Common, extracting high quality gritstone aggregate for use primarily in road surfacing. Large stockpiles of gritstone quarry waste form the main available substrate for future site reclamation.
Themes and topics that may be suitable for QLA scientific research could include: studies on monitoring for early successional plant and invertebrate species and suggestions for appropriate new habitat creation; investigations and soil sampling of the low-fertility substrates of quarry waste and substantial stockpiles of gritstone dust that would be the main soil-forming materials available for progressive and final site reclamation; trial plots to investigate optimum restoration techniques and establishment methodologies on waste dust substrates, for acid grassland, heathland, woodland and scrub habitats, possibly comparing bare dust with stored soils and overburden. This would be useful knowledge that could be applied on other similar gritstone quarries in the region.
While the adjacent Common (locally designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) supports an interesting mosaic of habitats including wet heathlands, acid grassland and gorse scrub, the disturbed land of the quarry appears to have little established vegetation other than on long standing and well-established perimeter screen banks and soil stores. The quarry waste and bare rock substrates appear to be a very hostile growing medium yet may harbour specialist species adapted to upland bare ground conditions. Few studies of the current flora and fauna have been carried out so there would be great benefit from further site investigations and species monitoring of both the established site perimeter and sparsely vegetated and bare ground areas. The quarry sump offers a source of clean unpolluted water but perhaps little aquatic vegetation, but may or may not support unusual flora and fauna.