Penn Associates Ecology Ltd recently assisted Tarmac with a very special gift to the Durham University Botanic Garden. Turfs, which contain wild plants that are characteristic of magnesian limestone grassland, were lifted from Old Quarrington Quarry and donated to the gardens.
The turfs, which include a number of wild orchids, will be carefully propagated and displayed in the magnesian limestone beds at the gardens. This is part of a wider magnesian limestone habitat creation and management project which Tarmac are implementing at the quarry.
Magnesian limestone grassland is a nationally scarce habitat which supports a unique assemblage of plant and animal species including 13 nationally scarce plants and 84 nationally scarce invertebrates. Magnesian limestone grassland species of particular local importance are a number of orchid species including dark-red helleborine; also invertebrates such as the northern brown argus butterfly, chalk carpet moth and cistus forester moth which are Durham Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.