Restored quarries can be the ideal habitat for wildlife and Tarmac’s Holborough Marsh, on the outskirts of Snodland, Kent, is no exception.
The thriving 35-hectre nature reserve, once part of Tarmac’s largest cement and quarrying operations, has been managed on behalf of Tarmac by Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) for nearly a quarter of a century, demonstrating an excellent collaboration between the two organisations.
The reserve, on the flood plain of the River Medway, has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has a superb range of wetland habitats with tidal brackish reedbeds, freshwater marsh, marshy grassland, scrub, woodland, freshwater and saline dykes.
The site is also very important for a diverse range of birds. The reed-beds support breeding reed and sedge warblers as well as providing important migratory roosting sites for swallows and sand martins. Wildfowl take advantage of the wetland areas and Cetti’s Warbler and Nightingale can be found in the scrub. A variety of plant species are found on the site, including marsh-mallow and early and southern marsh-orchid, meadow sweet, knappweeds and bladderwort.
The conservation area is also bucking trends with its thriving population of water voles - the UK's fastest declining mammal.
Mark Heeley, Tarmac’s Property Estates Manager explains: “Holborough has a long association with cement making and the legacy of this industry have helped shape the reserve.
"Tarmac is committed to ensuring that, where appropriate, the land we own is then managed responsibly, sustainably restored and regenerated for the benefit of local people and the wider community.
“The marsh is a patchwork of wet fields and scrub crisscrossed by ditches and home to many rare and unusual plants and animals. A network of paths provide access for people’s quiet enjoyment.
“Since 1995 Tamac has worked with KWT under a regular reviewed Management Agreement whereby it funds a KWT Warden who, with a number of volunteers, is dedicated to looking after the Marsh.
"As part of our continued commitment to restoration and biodiversity in this nationally important site, we have recently renewed this agreement demonstrating Tarmac’s commitment to the continued husbandry and improvements at this flourishing nature reserve.
“We value our partnership with KWT and we are proud to be able to continue working with the Trust to develop the nature reserve still further, creating a wildlife haven for the enjoyment of all.”
You can find our more about Holborough Marsh at Kent Wildlife Trusts website: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/holborough-marshes