In at the Start logo

Our In at the Start project began in late 2017, and at the end of 2018, it was awarded the national prize at the Heidelberg Quarry Life Awards – a major achievement for the Reserve and for all the volunteers and partner organisations who have been involved. The project also won 2nd prize and was highly commended at the Mineral Association Awards 2019.

The project continues with a programme of species monitoring, habitat creation, and public events, all centred around the new quarrying extension near the Reserve.

We are using this as an opportunity for education, and for us to contribute to the long-term plans for the restoration of the site after the quarrying has finished. We have lots of volunteers working on the project, and we would love it if you could join us – see below the opportunities to get involved.

In at the Start: what we have done

The project is centred on a major new quarrying extension by Hanson at a site known as Pennycroft, which is adjacent to High Batts Nature Reserve.

Working with Hanson, we are monitoring and recording changes on the working quarry, and how species respond. All the data will go into helping to develop plans for the eventual restoration of the site, so that we can maximise the potential for creating new habitats and conservation gain.

We recruited new teams of volunteers, and provided training and support. We have also been running public events for the local community in relation to the site, and working with local schools to provide fun and learning opportunities through class visits and an After School Club.

As part of the project, we have created 4.5km of survey track, converted a donated Portakabin to act as a volunteer base, and built a mobile hide for use on the quarry site.

You can see the progress we made during the first year by visiting the Heidelberg Cement’ website page In at the Start. We are now into year 3 and have extended our species recording programme and are undertaking regular maintenance work on site.

In at the Start: would you like to get involved?

Can you give us the benefit of your skills and a bit of your time to help us make this project an ongoing success? This is a big project with lots of opportunities.

You don’t have to be an expert naturalist. We need volunteers with skills in admin, computing, photography, helping with kids, and tea-making. Come and join the team, have a lot of fun, and know you are making a difference for the future.

If you can help, please get in touch.