Working with partners, Nature After Minerals is here to offer and share best-practice advice on biodiversity-led minerals restoration.

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  • Restoration Report
  • Wetland
  • Woodland

Wet woodland

Wet woodlands are an important habitat often overlooked in floodplain restoration. They are a rare and extremely fragmented habitat need of expansion.

Upland mixed ashwoods

These woodlands occur in western and northern Britain on thin soils usually over limestone. The support important bird communities as well as rare assemblages of flora, especially mosses and lichens, and invertebrates.

Upland heathland

Upland heathland occurs on mineral soils and thin peat (<0.5 m deep) throughout the uplands of England. Dwarf shrubs, heathers in particular, dominate the characteristic vegetation (>25% cover). Upland heathland usually occurs between about 600-750 m and around 250-400 m above sea level.

Upland hay meadows

Upland hay meadows were plentiful until the latter part of the 20th Century, but are now rare. They are important for several rare species of bird, including corncrake and black grouse, as well as for a now assemblage of flowering plants. The occur on a range of upland soils in western, central and northern Britain.

Upland calcareous grassland

Calcareous grasslands occur on shallow, limestone soils (pH 6.5-8.5). Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation. The precise composition of the vegetation community will depend on the climate, aspect and particular soil characteristics.

Standing open waters

Open water bodies – mesotrophic and eutrophic standing waters in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan – usually occur where gravel pits are situated in river floodplains. Many are important for a range of wetland wildlife. Clay and some chalk extraction can also create open water habitat. Opencast coal sites are suitable where the overburden includes considerable clay measures.

Saline lagoons

Saline lagoons are bodies of brackish to hyper-saline water that are partially connected with the sea. Some exchange of seawater occurs with the sea through over-topping an impermeable barrier, by percolation of sea water through the sediment or via man made sluices. Tidal range is greatly reduced or non-existent in the lagoon, and so there is little exposure of bed sediment. Saline lagoons occur in low-lying, often soft sediment coastlines, generally south and east England.

Safeguarding soil during mineral extraction

Soil is a fundamental natural resource that links the different components of our environment. In addition to food production, soil provides many functions, storing vast quantities of carbon, buffering pollution and supporting many forms of life. Safeguarding soil on mineral sites is a key to achieving sustainable development.

RSPB Langford Lowfields artificial sand martin bank creation

At Langford Lowfields, a 175ha reedbed restoration reserve, Sandinyoureye sand sculptors and RSPB designed and created an artificial sand martin bank that is purpose built to look and function as naturally as possible with sand martin nesting ecology. Partnership project delivered by RSPB and Lafarge Tarmac with support from Sita funding and construction by Sandinyoureye Ltd.


Reedbeds are dense stands of common reed that occur predominantly in river floodplains and low-lying coastal plains. They are a nationally scarce habitat supporting several rare dependent species of birds and invertebrates, such as the bittern and reed leopard moth.