Fagl Lane is a restored sand and gravel site, now managed by a Community Interest Company, who are looking to recreate an ancient managed landscape on the site, featuring farmland, woodland, wetlands, an operational Iron Age farm and Roman Fort, all for educational, research and leisure purposes. Nature After Minerals assessed the current ecological features, to identify the most valuable, and to advise how these could be incorporated into new proposals and be maintained in the long term.
To be confirmed / to incorporate a Roman fort
Potential best practice
Maximising biodiversity alongside a historical / cultural attraction / public open green space.
Up to 2004 Fagl Lane was worked for sand and gravel by Hanson UK. The Community Interest Company (CIC) was set up to restore and manage the site – to be called ‘Park in the Past’, providing a valuable asset (historical, educational and open green space) to the local community. The CIC are developing a restoration concept to be submitted for planning approval in early 2016.
Opportunities identified by RESTORE
The aspiration is to recreate habitats that would have been present in the area during the Roman occupation in the first century AD. Fagl Lane Quarry has the potential to deliver high quality habitat mosaics featuring grassland, woodland, open water and scrub. These would have been present to varying extents in the landscape during this time and been managed in various ways. Long term management of the recreated habitats will be key to keeping the site in good ecological condition.
Why Fagl Lane Quarry fitted RESTORE objectives:
To help ensure the long-term viability of the site in terms of nature conservation, far beyond the short statutory aftercare period enforced under the mineral extraction planning permission.
Also, to balance ecological and biodiversity elements with green infrastructure and cultural heritage; the aim for this site is to bring the local community closer to the natural and historical environment, benefiting health and wellbeing.
Comments and recommendations submitted on the restoration and long-term aftercare plans.
The original restoration plan included a mixed end-use, with the land in the north of the site returned to agricultural pasture with associated hedgerows, and the remainder to be restored to a nature conservation end use. Much of the central part is dominated by a large, deep lake which was proposed to be enhanced through additional reed planting, while to the south, the site was to be left to naturally vegetate to open mosaic habitat as well as a number of ponds and scrapes.
The CIC is proposing to revise this to incorporate historical and educational features described, whilst retaining the biodiversity interest that is already establishing at the site. The 12ha lake in the middle of the site will become a leisure facility, with a variety of non-motorised boats, and the potential for open water swimming.
Our response and suggestions
Our recommendations to maximise biodiversity during the continued restoration, and to maintain this through long-term management.
How this best practice is transferable
The proposals are innovative in combining predominately biodiversity restoration with an historical / cultural development for the local community. Securing the long term future of biodiversity features at a restored quarry is often difficult, but revising the plan to include visitor / educational facilities, gives Fagl Lane quarry a long term future.
The use of natural regeneration and creation of open mosaic habitats has provided interesting biodiversity outcomes, and the retention of these key features will be an important part of any new proposals for the site. Careful management of public access will allow people to come face to face with nature, and learn about the natural environment, as well as the historical environment.