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Whatley Quarry has the advantage of a long-standing and progressive restoration scheme, incorporating woodland planting at various stages of development: existing semi-natural woodland incorporated into the scheme; established new stands of various ages; and, further planned planting as part of the terminal restoration. In common with most other restoration schemes to establish natural woodland, woodland creation to date has focused mainly on tree planting. However natural woodlands are highly stratified habitats, with many species of conservation value represented in the ground flora rather than in the tree canopy. Hanson also owns Asham Wood Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is the largest and most biodiverse ancient semi-natural woodland in the Mendips. This project aims to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided by these two sites, co-located on similar geologies.
The project will examine the feasibility of enhancing woodland ground flora biodiversity and accelerating species colonisation in woodland stands at the Whatley Quarry site. However the findings would have wider application in the Mendips and in hard rock quarry sites in general. The work would focus on the direct introduction of woodland ground flora species into new woodland stands. A range of common and notable species would be considered as candidate species for introduction. The overall aim is to examine the feasibility of introducing woodland ground flora to enhance the quality of woodland restoration at Whatley Quarry using Asham Wood as a potential donor site, to enhance the quality and extent of biodiversity on site.