Tout Quarries Nature Reserve
Stone sculptures and scarce wildlife make this former quarry an interesting and unusual site to visit.
Worked commercially from c.1780-1982 as one of eighty quarry sites on Portland, the remnants of the quarry's limestone are now used to create sculptures which adorn the site. The bare surfaces of mined stone have been left to regenerate naturally with a host of uncommon plants, lichens and insects now to be found in this dry, sheltered habitat. Control of invasive scrub to ensure that the more uncommon dry, open grasslands are not over-run forms the main management at the site. Tout Quarries are a creative and educational resource for visitors, schools and universities who come to learn about wildlife and stone heritage through our activities and those of the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust.
Portland Quarries habitat restoration
Large scale habitat restoration by removal of invasive, non-native scrub has been undertaken across the Portland Quarries as part of a Viridor funded partnership project. At Tout, as elsewhere, wildflowers are now returning to large areas of the quarries previously swamped by a blanket of cotoneaster and buddleia. See our Portland Living Landscape project pages for before and after images, and even an aerial fly-through of the habitat works.
On the Isle of Portland take the A354 up the hairpin bend at Priory Corner. On foot, the reserve is accessed by a number of paths coming off New Road, Wide Street and from the South West Coast Path. By car, take the last exit at the Priory Corner round about onto Wide Street. After ¼ mile turn right onto Tradecroft Road. The reserve car park is found on the right hand side at the end of the industrial estate. Use the 'Get directions' link to see bus and cycle routes.
Access and safety
From the car park a wide gravelled path leads into the main quarry area, with a number of paths criss-crossing the site and allowing access to the many sculptures worked into the rocks. An interpretation board at this entrance shows the location of the 60 plus sculptures, but you will probably need several visits to find them all!
Visitors should be aware that there are some sheer rock faces and steep slopes. In places there may be loose stones underfoot.
Species and habitats
Limestone grassland, bare rock.
Common blue, silver-studded blue, grayling, chalk carpet, viper's bugloss, kidney & horseshoe vetch. Several nationally scarce lichens and bryophytes.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
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