by ANTONY CLAY
A LARGE shallow lake surrounded by vegetated margins and a few small islands. Now that sounds like a promising birding spot – and you would be right.
Lady Lee Quarry, a 2.4 hectare site in the Worksop area, is a nature reserve that is really worth the journey.
Kingfishers are a regular feature and other attractions include little grebe, blackcap, goldcrest, grey heron, snipe, great crested grebe and the hard-to-spot water rail.
But you don’t just have to confine yourself to our feathered friends because there is much more to offer besides.
Other fauna include grass snakes, many dragonflies and damselflies, as well as a range of amphibians.
Over the years, 83 bird species have been seen, as well as 158 species of plant, 55 fungi and more than 300 types of invertebrate.
Now that’s an impressive list!
Flora includes water plantain, mare’s tail, branched bur-reed, celery-leaved buttercup, pink water-speedwell, yellow-wort, fairy flax and cowslip.
You can also see hawthorn, wych elm, ash, holly and blackthorn.
According to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which runs the site, it is located on a strip of magnesian limestone.
The site has become flooded naturally to form the lake and islands.
There is also a large woodland habitat at Lady Lee Quarry, and also dry grassland and marsh.
Until 1928 the site was part of a Lower Magnesian Limestone, now known as the Cadeby Formation, quarry. Since then a large part of the site was filled with refuse but Lady Lee Quarry remained untouched.
While the quarry was being worked, a branch of the Chesterfield Canal was built at the southern end of the site and some remnants remain, as well as the remains of three stone buildings.
Surveys of invertebrates have created good records for slugs and snails, spiders and harvestmen. In fact the site has offered up 28 of the 57 historically recorded marsh and land snail species in Nottinghamshire.
Plenty of bird food then!
Studies have also found 77 species of spider and seven of the 24 British species of harvestman.
A two-day invertebrate survey in 1999 discovered 339 species of which one was Red Data Book listed, seven nationally scarce and 29 considered local in their national distribution.
The site – located at SK562794 – is reached by taking a narrow road and public bridleway from the end of Haggonfields Lane in Worksop. Satnav types can tap in S80 3DL to get there.
There is a lot to see at Lady Lee Quarry for the keen naturalist so pop along and see it for yourself.
You can find out more about the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/