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The Old Quarry

Monday, 12th August 2002, West Yorkshire

Storrs Hill quarry
As I said a month ago, I think of Storrs Hill as a neglected wasteland but on this sunny, breezy afternoon it's attracting boys on bikes, naturalists (including 3 friends of mine), dog walkers and a family. Twelve people (and five dogs) visit in the two hours that I'm there - it's almost become an unofficial country park, the perfect place for a breath of fresh air and with a panorama that's unparalleled in this part of the valley.

Two of my friends remember the stone steps that once brought the footpath down at a corner of the rock face. These substantial steps have been vandalised and probably spirited away by stone thieves. Because of the current financial situation there are no plans to restore them at present.

The butterflies aren't as much in evidence as they were on my last visit because of the wind. The bramble bush in this hollow below the cliff face continues to attract them.

The boys on bikes are also attracted to the hollow; when I arrive they're throwing stones at the two rusty wrecked cars in the hollow;

'BONK! BONK! . . . BONK! . . BONK! . . .'

kestrel This goes on for fifteen minutes. I'm sure we're going to end up with a major cairn completely burying the abandoned vehicles. Despite their requests I decline to include them in the picture, but I do include a crow that flies over and a kestrel that hovers over the field above the quarry.

There's a single oak sapling growing in front of those cars in the bottom left-hand side of the drawing. Hawthorns and a couple of small birch saplings have a toehold by the quarry face. If it wasn't the rough treatment this hill gets from bikers what is now sparse grassland attracting butterflies might have become just another patch of woodland. There's nothing wrong with woodland of course but in this part of the valley it is open heathy land that is in short page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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