Saturday 15th October saw the inaugural Horseshoe Crag Care Day. A motley band of volunteers descended on Stoney Middleton quarry, armed with a pretty comprehensive list of tasks.
To give a bit of background, the BMC acquired Horseshoe Quarry, for use as a recreation and conservation site, in 2004. The BMC's ownership of the crag sought to ensure long-term access to this important bolted limestone venue in the Peak.
Ownership and management of this SSSI means that everything done on site has to be consented by Natural England. Key features of the BMC’s management plan are to retain and enhance the character of a site which offers every habitat, from bare areas to climax vegetation. This involves shrub clearance, woodland management and improving wetland areas.
Peak Area Access Co-ordinator Henry Folkard invited a team of Access volunteers from Sheffield University to help with the work. Together with Access Representative Simon Jacques, he co-ordinated a large team spread throughout the quarry.
As BMC members also came on the day to volunteer their services, work began on the little-known upper land to the right of the quarry, raking a large area of cut grass, digging up tuft grass, trimming sloe bushes and dismantling the ‘Ray Mears’ shelter that had been built in the summer, and tidying up the hacked trees that were sacrificed for this.
Other teams cut back trees around the pond and removed pondweed, whilst important bramble removal work on top of the zigzags took place, helping encourage the wild orchid population. Sapling and bramble removal took place round the base of the crag and climbs, and litter and broken glass was removed, all six bags of it. Lots of flammable stuff was burnt and the day was finished off with a huge picnic for the volunteers, consisting all you could want in an outdoor feed.
The BMC would again like to thank Lucy Graham and the Sheffield University Access Team for some sterling work.
Want to volunteer?
The BMC is always on the look out for volunteers to help at Horseshoe with the ongoing conservation of the site. If you are interested please get in touch with the office or approach one of the access representatives at the forthcoming Peak Area meeting on 23rd November at the Maynard Arms Hotel, Grindleford.
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