Tarmac have begun to handover part of their Crown Farm Quarry site in Delamere to wildlife charity Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
The site will be transformed by the trust into a new 17-hectare wildlife haven, called Crown Farm Nature Reserve, providing homes for wildflowers, bees, butterflies and birds.
It will also be used as a venue to inspire the next generation about the value of nature.
Tarmac began quarrying the 65-hectare Crown Farm Quarry in 1989.
The site, which was mainly agricultural farmland beforehand, has been quarried over the last three decades for sand to use in the manufacturing of concrete, mortar and asphalt.
As part of Tarmac’s planning permission to extract the sand, they were required to have a plan for how the site would be restored and to include a variety of wildlife habitats once extraction had finished.
To deliver the restoration plan, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Tarmac have been working together for a number of years to prepare areas of Crown Farm Quarry for the handover.
“With quarrying now finished on part of the site, Cheshire Wildlife Trust will manage the restored area as Crown Farm Nature Reserve,” said Kevin Feeney, living landscapes officer for Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the nature reserve’s manager.
“We’ve already seen birds like sand martins and butterflies like small heath butterfly, the common blue and small coppers start to move back into this area, which is incredibly exciting.
“For me, it clearly shows the resilience of our wildlife – if we provide bigger, better and more joined up areas for nature, species are able to move back in.”
Crown Farm Quarry is located within an area of gently rolling woodland, farmland and heathland.
Pockets of sand were formed there during the last ice age and it was once part of the ancient forest of Mara and Mondrem.
Steve Williams, Crown Farm Quarry manager, commented: “We are proud of our partnership with Cheshire Wildlife Trust and look forward to working with them in the future to develop the nature reserve.
“We are committed to enhancing the biodiversity of our sites and hope that by working with the trust we will be able to create something special for Delamere.”
Due to the quarry still being operational, the reserve will not be open to the public.
However, Cheshire Wildlife Trust will be holding events for supporters and delivering education sessions for schools within the new on-site Discovery Centre which Tarmac is funding.
For more information, please visit: www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk