Cam Quarry is a hard rock quarry situated within the Binevenagh AONB near the town of Macosquin. RESTORE worked with Whitemountain Quarries on restoring areas to wetland habitats, tying in with the surrounding natural landscape.
Macosquin, County Derry, Northern Ireland
Potential best practice
Linking habitats with the surrounding landscape.
Cam Quarry is situated within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), less than 3km from River Roe and Tributaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is also situated within the Lough Neagh basin, an area of priority for the RSPB landscape-scale conservation programme.
The quarry was recently approved for a large extension; this process needed a detailed restoration plan. RESTORE advised on possible amendments to this plan and aftercare management.
Opportunities identified by RESTORE
The quarry provides ideal opportunities to restore wet heath and blanket bog. The island of Ireland has the second largest extent of peatland in Europe, yet in Northern Ireland only 15% remains intact.
Why Cam Quarry fitted RESTORE objectives:
- Falls within the Northern Ireland Futurescape
- The site extends to over 58ha
- The site is close to existing priority habitat
- Opportunity to remove woodland planting schemes in an upland area
- Potential to share best practice, in an area which has a high concentration of quarries.
RESTORE approached Whitemountain Quarries to explore restoration potential
Planning application for extension was approved.
RESTORE issued thoughts on amending final restoration plan and aftercare management.
The approved restoration plan, dated September 2012, consists of areas of open water, blanket bog, conifer woodland, broadleaved woodland, species-rich grassland, scree slopes, bare rock and an informal gravel path.
It also includes a high level of detail including a planting schedule, wildflower seed mix and restoration design instructions.
Our response and suggestions
How this best practice is transferable
The site showcases the potential for peatland restoration, instead of traditional grassland restoration. Best practice here includes:
- Linking with surrounding natural habitats
- Maintaining water levels for peat restoration
- Maintaining areas of bare ground
- Retaining interesting quarry features and micro topography
- Tree and scrub removal.
The operator has learned to link habitat restoration with the surrounding natural environment and aimed for the creation of larger ecological units instead of small areas of varying habitat.