Monday, 25 June 2018

Exploring Gill Mill Quarry

Saturday saw some fantastic weather and a good turnout for our quarry tour at Gill Mill, organised by LWVP, Oxfordshire Geology Trust and Smiths Bletchington.

The quarry was opened in 1989 and lies within the Lower Windrush Valley, covering an area of 184 hectares.
Our visit started with an introduction at the quarry office, after which we headed to the main extraction area to the North of the site.

Gravel face inside the current working area
Bill talks about the geology of the area and how the gravels were formed

We then visited the processing plant where the material dug during extraction is washed and sorted in to different sizes. The plant at Gill Mill produces up to 400,000 tonnes of product a year.

The view from the top of the processing plant

After extraction takes place, each phase of the workings is restored in line with the scheme agreed as part of the planning permission. A large proportion of the area currently being dug will be restored to reedbed and wet woodland for nature conservation but there will also be open water for recreation and around 11km of new footpaths and bridleways.
The next section of the tour took us to two of the restored sites, Rushy Common Nature Reserve and Tar Lakes.

Lucy talks to the group about the restoration and management of Tar Lakes
The bird hide at Rushy Common

Finally, we rounded off our visit with a trip to the recycling plant and a team photo.