Ladycross is a working quarry, with a history dating back at least to the 18th century when it supplied the Lord Crewe Estate with stone roofing slates for the reconstruction of Blanchland village. The stone is still extracted by hand – a slow, labour intensive process, but one which allows time for awareness of the surrounding wildlife. This encouraged the former manager, Colin Jewitt, to develop the worked parts of the quarry as a nature reserve over the last 30 years. This is being continued by the present manager, Robin Turner.
THE NATURE RESERVE
At 350m above sea level, on the watershed between the Rivers Tyne and Derwent, the site is very special. There are no streams to carry pollutants onto the reserve, and the ten ponds created there consequently support a wealth of wildlife. The 40 acre site is made up of heath and woodland, with ponds and an area of upland meadow. The heather moorland immediately to the south is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while the quarry itself is surrounded by Forestry Commission open-access woodland. In this unique situation we have recorded over 140 species of birds, 17 species of butterflies and over 100 species of moths. The ponds support an outstanding range of dragonflies for such an upland site – 10 species have been recorded here. We still have a small population of red squirrels, as well as other woodland mammals, and common lizards, slow worms and adders all make use of the specially constructed hibernation sites.
BECOME A FRIEND OF LADYCROSS
The nature reserve is a non-profitmaking voluntary project, managed by a committee elected by members of the Friends of Ladycross organisation. You can help to support the development of the reserve by becoming a Friend of Ladycross.
Members receive a quarterly Newsletter and can participate in special activities throughout the year. Members are also encouraged to take part in the development of the reserve through practical help and administration.
Ladycross Nature Reserve now has its own website at http://www.ladycrossnature.org.uk where you will find details of how to join and help support us.
HOW TO FIND US
From Hexham take the Slaley and Blanchland road (B 6306 ) in Slaley direction. Take the first right hand turn after passing the Travellers Rest pub; follow this minor road for 2 miles; at the end of the metalled road, at the top of Ladycross Bank, the entrance to Ladycross Quarry is on the right. There is parking space outside.