We've been out exploring again today, and despite the fact we were less than 2 miles from home, we could have been in a different place completely. Clints Quarry is a genuine hidden gem, situated between two main commuter routes that 1000s of nuclear workers travel every day, Despite its location and size, I wonder how many of them are even aware of its existence. We've never seen anybody else there on our visits.
|Clints Quarry is situated between the busy A595 and A5086, just outside of Egremont.|
It covers over 9 hectares but it so well hidden that anyone driving by will be unaware of its existence.
|The exposed rock faces at the head of Clints Quarry are around 20m high.|
|Tracks between the overgrown spoil heaps.|
|Crystalised rocks on the quarry floor|
|Moss growing on the limestone "clints".|
The quarry is filled with quaking grass, wild strawberries, oat grass, oxeye daises, the spectacular bee orchid with its unusually shaped flowers, and the vivid pink pyramidal orchid, a Cumbria rarity. On the rock face and between crevices grow many ferns including hart's tongue. In damper parts of quarry the pale pink common spotted orchid and the deeper pink northern marsh orchid are present. Sedges and rushes are common here, as are tufted hair grass and hemp agrimony. Bluebell, dog's mercury, enchanter's nightshade, early purple orchids and common twayblade orchids populate the woodland. Many mosses, fungi, lichens and moulds can be found growing on the trees, spoil heaps and rock faces.
The wildlife includes beetles and common blue, meadow brown and gatekeeper butterflies. Robins, goldcrests, long-tailed tits and sometimes treecreepers inhabit the quarry whilst kestrels and ravens nest on the quarry face. Stickleback, palmate newt and common frog can be found in the derelict concrete lined ponds and pools along with water beetles and "water-boatmen". It also gives me plenty of scope to take a few photos and get my boots muddy! Clints Quarry nature reserve is open at all times and is on the Egremont to Whitehaven cycleway (National Route 72). It lies on land seperating the main A595 and A5086 routes but is only accesible from a minor road just off the A5086.
|Wild Strawberries are everywhere... but you have to look hard to find them.|
|Moss covers the ancient tree roots and rocks.|
|These derelict ponds are now filled with newts, sticklebacks, frogs and beetles... and they're very deep!|