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Ripon City Wetlands opens to the public

Ripon City Wetlands

Aggregate Industries and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust turn former quarry into wildlife haven

WHAT was once a working quarry has been transformed into a new wetland haven for wildlife through work by Aggregate Industries and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Ripon City Wetlands, which lies between the Ripon Canal and the river Ure, operated as a working quarry until very recently. Now managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and supported by Aggregate Industries, the large site has been transformed into a nature reserve teeming with wildlife.

The journey from quarry to wetland started in 2003 when Aggregate Industries bought the quarrying rights from Brown and Potter, who owned the site. Following a detailed plan from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Aggregate Industries and the Trust worked with Middlemarch Environmental to design and create the perfect wildlife haven.

Guy Edwards, chief executive officer at Aggregate Industries, said: ‘We are delighted that our quarry has been turned into such a significant place for wildlife. Sustainability and biodiversity are of the utmost importance to Aggregate Industries, and within that comes the beneficial restoration of sites to benefit the local community and the environment.

‘We not only worked closely with Middlemarch Environmental and the Trust to initially create the reserve, we are also committed to maintaining its success through providing funding to help manage the site over the next 50 years.’

Jonathan Leadley, north regional manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘We’re looking forward to welcoming the public to Ripon City Wetlands, and we’re sure they’re going to love it.

‘This wonderful new wetland adds to a suite of existing nature reserves along the river Ure corridor, including Nosterfield and High Batts. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust supports the creation of ‘Living Landscapes’ – wildlife habitats that are bigger, better-managed and more joined-up – and collectively, these nature reserves are the perfect embodiment of that aim.’

The mosaic of habitats at Ripon City Wetlands has been carefully designed to provide the most benefit for wildlife. The canal reed beds were specifically designed to create the maximum amount of reed-bed edge for feeding bitterns, whilst the strip of fen meadow that runs along its edge was made by spreading green hay and hand-collected seeds from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s nearby Staveley Nature Reserve.

With careful management through late-summer cutting, the Trust hopes a wide variety of wildflowers and plants will flourish here and create the perfect environment for a variety of insects.

Ripon City Wetlands opens to the public today [4 May].

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