One of the most scenic of Portland’s historic quarries has become the island’s latest nature reserve. The acquisition of a lease on Tout Quarry by Dorset Wildlife Trust brings protection for its rare wildlife and unique heritage landscape and enables the creation of the Portland Quarries Nature Park, an important legacy for Weymouth and Portland.
Old quarry to be protected and the wildlife value enhanced by the Trust for future generations to enjoy
Tout Quarry, like other quarries on Portland, formerly produced the world famous Portland stone. Now it is an outstanding haven for rare wildlife and for sculpture by artists including Anthony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, thanks to the involvement of the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust. The quarry provides a sheltered habitat amongst the limestone for nationally important colonies of chalk hill and small blue butterflies and a variety of silver studded blue butterfly that is found nowhere but Portland. Also unique to the island is the Portland hawkweed and several lichens, making its disused quarries among Dorset’s most precious habitats. Now it joins the existing DWT reserve at King Barrow Quarries and other sites across the island protected for wildlife and the enjoyment of people as Portland Quarries Nature Park. Dorset Wildlife Trust will manage the Tout Quarry reserve to protect its rare wildlife by removing invasive alien plants that threaten to take over the limestone grassland.
Brian Bleese, Director of Operations at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Tout Quarry is a wonderful place for people and wildlife. Thanks to the support of Geoff Smith and Portland Stone Firms Ltd, DWT will be able to maintain it as an open access site for local people and visitors to enjoy.”
Tim Clotworthy, Estates Manager of Portland Stone Firms Ltd, said:”We have been working very closely with Brian Bleese and his team at Dorset Wildlife Trust to complete the lease which will enable this old quarry to be protected and the wildlife value enhanced by the Trust for future generations to enjoy.”
The reserve is open daily free of charge and the permanent sculptures can be found all around the quarry, many of them carved into the limestone
Tout Quarry is at Tradecroft on the western side of Portland, with stunning views of Chesil Beach and the Jurassic Coast down to Devon. Access and interpretation improvements are being funded by The Big Lottery through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, and will be delivered by the Wild about Weymouth and Portland project. The quarry’s heritage tunnels and arches have recently been restored with funding from English Heritage’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. The reserve is open daily free of charge and the permanent sculptures can be found all around the quarry, many of them carved into the limestone.
Wild About Weymouth & Portland is a partnership between Dorset Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dorset Countryside and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, to encourage people to discover, enjoy and help conserve the borough’s wonderful natural environment.
Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature.
Notes to Editor
1. For more information please contact Nicky Hoar or Brian Bleese at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 816546.
Dorset Wildlife Trust is part of the Natural Weymouth and Portland Partnership; connecting people with nature
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Wild About Weymouth and Portland is a partnership project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dorset Countryside (DCC) and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. The project aims to improve access in and between important wildlife sites in the borough and encourage local people and visitors to discover, enjoy and help conserve the wonderful natural environment of Weymouth and Portland.
Additional funding has been provided by Portland Gas Trust and the AONB.
2. Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of the The Big Lottery Fund’s
Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and
improve their local environments.
3. Natural England manages this £28.75 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf
of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV,
British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace,
Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England,
RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.
4. Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities
for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment
and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as
improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.
5. Access to Nature closed to applications in May 2010 but for further information
about the programme visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/accesstonature
6. The Big Lottery Fund is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.For further information about the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Anthony Gormley’s sculpture at Tout Quarry is titled ‘Still Falling’