OS map ref: SK 813250 (Sheet 130)
The reserve entrance is situated to the east of Waltham-on-the-Wolds. Visitors should approach the reserve on the Waltham to Stonesby road. On the left there is a gated road with traffic lights at the bottom. Please park on the verge - not blocking the gateway - and walk up the track to the reserve.
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 must be kept on a short lead at all times.
The reserve covers 4 ha. It is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The reserve is part of a worked-out quarry on soft Jurassic lower Lincolnshire limestone. Although the area is small, parts of the site have developed an important limestone grassland community, rare in Leicestershire. The flora was noted as being of interest in 1933 in the Flora of Leicestershire and Rutland.
During the 1939-45 war topsoil was imported into the site so that crops could be grown, and some exotic species were introduced.
The quarry was left unmanaged for a number of years allowing scrub to take hold, but limestone grassland plants managed to survive in small open exposures. The majority of the scrub has gradually been removed leaving a strip around the boundary for shelter and habitat diversity. Grazing has been introduced to maintain the species rich open grassland by preventing scrub encroachment and controlling coarse grasses which would outcompete the more delicate herbs and grasses.
Some areas of topsoil have been removed from the reserve to re-expose the limestone bedrock. These scraped areas will be colonised by lime-loving plants which find it difficult to compete with plants of more fertile soil.
The strip of further arable land on the south side of the quarry, aquired by the trust in 2007, is being managed by mowing, grazing and wagwortcontrol, and it is hoped that this will provide an additonal area of limestone grassland.
The quarry contains some of the best remaining limestone grassland in Leicestershire. Noteable plant species include pyramidal orchid, autumn gentian, bee orchid, and small scabious. Cowslips, meadow crane's-bill, black and greater knapweed, and toadflax all add to the summer colour and diversity of the site.
The profusion of wildflowers attract butterflies, including common blue, large skipper, brimstone and painted lady. The scrub surrounding the reserve is used by a variety of birds; spotted flycatchers have nested here and turtle doves have been heard.
The reserve contains a well-developed badger sett. It can also claim the distinction of being the site where the harvest mouse was rediscovered in Leicestershire in 1964.
Learn about the history & management of the reserve
Why not join one of our teams of volunteers. We have regular work parties covering reserves in this area, including Stonesby Quarry.