Bishop Middleham Quarry

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birding locations | Birding sites England | Birding sites Durham |  Bishop Middleham Quarry

Bishop Middleham Quarry photograph
Bishop Middleham Quarry

Bishop Middleham Quarry

This reserve is considered to be one of the country’s most important disused quarry habitats for wildlife and has been designated as a SSSI since 1968.It gained notoriety in 2002 when a pair of European Bee-eater nested here raising two young.
The site contains a variety of vegetation types including woodland, scrub, and several grassland communities. The most important part of the site from a biodiversity conservation perspective is the species-rich unimproved magnesian limestone grassland, which covers just under 4.6 hectares (11 acres) of the site. Only 270 hectares (670 acres) of this habitat exist in Britain, two-thirds of it in County Durham.
The quarry has been disused since the 1930's and unusual species abound on the thin limestone soils, such as blue moor grass, moonwort, autumn gentian and fairy flax, and there are a range of orchid species including pyramidal, common spotted, fragrant and bee orchid, but most significant are the large numbers of rare dark red helleborines. The site attracts large numbers of butterflies such as dingy skipper, common blue, small heath, ringlet, small copper and one of the county’s largest colonies of the rare Durham brown argus butterfly, best seen in June and July.(DWT)
Management around the area has encouraged good numbers of otherwise scarce farmland birds including corn bunting, tree sparrow, skylark and yellow wagtail pictured.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birding locations | Birding sites England | Birding sites Durham |  Bishop Middleham Quarry

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