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

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  • Habitat Creation on Active Quarries

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.

Artificial Rafts

Rafts are a useful way of providing island habitat in areas of deep open water, where the depth is greater than 45-50cm. Their purpose is to improve breeding success by providing areas safe from flooding, disturbance or predation.

Purple moor grass and rush pastures

This species-rich habitat occurs in areas of high rainfall, mostly in south-west England, on poorly drained, shallow peat or peaty mineral soils with a range of pH conditions. They have low available nutrient concentrations and are usually maintained by low intensity grazing or mowing.

Nature Before Minerals at Sandy Heath Quarry

Sandy Heath is an active sand and gravel quarry, adjacent to the RSPB’s headquarters and nature reserve at The Lodge in Bedfordshire.

Natural regeneration: Its role in mineral site restoration

Mineral sites provide excellent opportunities for natural regeneration and natural habitat succession. Once common in the wider countryside, these important ecological processes and the habitats they support are now limited due to changes in agriculture and an intensification of land use.

Lowland wood-pasture and parkland

Lowland wood-pasture and parklandis a woodland type that has developed through past management, rather than being a particular vegetation community. Where woodland has been grazed at moderate stocking levels for many years, it will develop an open park-like character.

Lowland meadows

Unimproved, semi-natural, neutral grasslands are rare – only 3% of the area of this species-rich grassland found in the UK in the 1930s remains. They are found on moist, low fertility, mineral soils with a pH of 5-7. Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation.

Lowland heathland

Lowland heathland is found below 300 m altitude, on generally sandy soils, which also contain botanically important valley mires. Former mineral workings can be ideal opportunities for creation. It will take several years for the full assemblage of heathland vegetation and features to develop, but a heath-like sward can be achieved in 3-5 years in favourable circumstances.