Quarries are never a pretty sight. They are usually out in the countryside, they leave great holes in the ground, the machinery is noisy, even the gravel being shunted into the lorries breaks the rural silence.
But the ones on the side of the road to Ripon are well-shielded by a thick belt of woodland, at present wearing its early Summer choice of greens and full of birds. And by the side of the quarry is an old set of quarry workings, now worked out. These deep holes are full of water and a really spectacular Nature Reserve has been created. Yesterday morning a friend and I, with our dogs, (on leads, for obvious reasons) walked around the perimeter. What a lovely hour we spent.
There were marsh orchids, bright clumps of birds foot trefoil, banks of red campion and patches of stonecrop (we used to call this Old Man's Tobacco when we were children). On one lake there was a creche of young geese carefully supervised and marshalled by the whole flock as they glided amongst the reeds. On another lake (see photograph) surrounded by trees and sporting a border of yellow water iris, a swan and her cygnets were cruising. We walked round accompanied by birdsong, caught sight of a great crested grebe with her young and spent a very pleasant hour in the peace and quiet of the wetlands - the only disturbance was the occasional scrunch of gravel sliding into a lorry and a bird-scarer keeping birds of the crops in a nearby field.