OS map ref: SK 977053 (Sheet 141)
Ketton Quarry is located in eastern Rutland. From the A47 take the A6121 towards Stamford. This road passes through Ketton, but just before leaving the village turn left into Pit Lane. The entrance to the reserve is on the left about 400 m further on just after the roundabout.
We encourage visitors to use environmentally friendly forms of transport wherever possible. Most of our reserves are easily accessible by bicycle, with many close to the National Cycle Network. Please note that cycling is not permitted on the nature reserve itself.
Public transport - contact Traveline for further information www.traveline.org.uk or phone 0871 200 22 33.
Dogs are permitted on this nature reserve but only under strict control - able to bring to heel at all times.
The reserve, which covers 27.5 ha, is leased by the Trust from Castle Cement. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Ketton Quarry is an active limestone extraction site, but the reserve is a long worked-out area consisting of hills and holes that have been colonised by calcareous grassland plants and scrub. Part of the reserve area was planted with beech trees in about 1920.
In recent years local volunteers have cleared some of the scrub and grazed the grassland with donkeys. The Trust's small flock of manx loghtan sheep now graze the reserve, and the rate of scrub removal has been increased so that more calcareous grassland, a nationally important wildlife habitat, can be established. The intention is to link up all of the remaining pockets of grassland, but to leave some scrub. Manx Loghtan sheep belonging to the trust have grazed in the paddocks in rotation since 2004
Some of the rock faces are kept clear of vegetation to facilitate geological study.
The mosaic of calcareous grassland, scrub and woodland at Ketton Quarry forms an exceptional habitat for a wide variety of animals and plants. Species present in the grassland include butterflies such as marbled white and grizzled and dingy skippers, many rare moths, glowworm, common lizard and adder. Many flowering plants are present, too, like bee orchid, cowslip, yellow-wort, autumn gentian, viper's bugloss and carline thistle.
Although the scrub threatens to shade out all of the grassland if left unchecked, it does provide valuable habitat for birds such us nightingale and turtle dove and so some will be maintained. The beech wood contains the only colony of yellow bird's-nest in Leicestershire and Rutland. This plant has no chlorophyll but lives on leaf mould.
The geology trail is now closed following rock falls which have made the rock faces unstable and potentially dangerous.
Why not join one of our teams of volunteers. We have regular work parties covering reserves in this area, including Ketton Quarry.