Holwell Reserves

Wildlife Highlights

 Quarrying has left shallow, nutrient poor, lime-rich soils providing ideal conditions for many species of wildflower including both bee orchids and common spotted-orchids. Perforate St. Johns-wort, meadow vetchling, viper’s-bugloss, and the diminutive hare’s-foot clover all add to the rich diversity. The reserve supports important populations of dingy skipper and green hairstreak butterflies, as well as a large colony of common blue, which feed on common bird’s-foot trefoil.

The entrance to old mine tunnels can be seen on the reserve. The constant temperatures and fissured rocks of the tunnels provide ideal conditions for bats. Natterer’s, Daubenton’s, brown long-eared and pipistrelle bats have all been recorded.

Wild places

Total species seen at this site: 408

Description

The area south east of Holwell village was originally mined for building stone. There is evidence to suggest that Brown’s Hill Quarry was in existence by 1815. Ironstone was first quarried from the area by the Stanton Ironworks company from 1879 until 1881. Mining resumed in 1918 and continued until 1933 when the company began to work the mine with galleries based on the pillar-and-stall method. Open cast working was reinstated at the quarry between 1953 and 1957 when exploitation ceased.

Habitats include bare rock faces, slopes and spoil heaps colonised by herb-rich grassland.

There is also an area of mixed woodland, planted in the 1930s. Most of the management work on the reserve is aimed at maintaining the species rich open grassland by preventing scrub encroachment. Dominant grasses, such as torgrass, are also controlled to prevent them from forcing out the delicate herbs.

Holwell Mineral Line was built by the Midland Railway Company and was opened in 1876. It runs from the main line near Asfordby to a terminus at Holwell Wharf and was used to transport ironstone to the Holwell Works. The line was closed in the 1960s, when mining finally ceased in the area. Habitats include rough grassland, scrub, young woodland, marsh, streams and ditches. Management work includes preventing scrub from shading out the species rich grassland.

Latest records

Common Name Latin Name Date Recorded Recorded By
X New Fungi Species10/10/2017Steve Mathers
Common DarterSympetrum striolatum10/10/2017Steve Mathers
RavenCorvus corax10/10/2017Steve Mathers
Wild TeaselDipsacus fullonum02/09/2017Alan Semper
Broad-leaved WillowherbEpilobium montanum02/09/2017Alan Semper
BittersweetSolanum dulcamara02/09/2017Alan Semper
BittersweetSolanum dulcamara02/09/2017Alan Semper
Male-fernDryopteris filix-mas02/09/2017Alan Semper
Great WillowherbEpilobium hirsutum02/09/2017Alan Semper
Dusona circumspectans02/09/2017Alan Semper
Clustered DockRumex conglomeratus02/09/2017Alan Semper
Dasineura pustulans02/09/2017Alan Semper
Wild PrivetLigustrum vulgare02/09/2017Alan Semper
HazelCorylus avellana02/09/2017Alan Semper
Sycamore TarspotRhytisma acerinum02/09/2017Alan Semper
Further Information
Getting There

The reserves of Brown’s Hill Quarry, Holwell Mineral Line and North Quarry lie about 5 km north of Melton Mowbray. From the town centre, take the Scalford Road. After 3 km, turn left and take the first right. Cross a cattle grid and enter a section of unfenced road. After 0.5 km, the road forks and the reserve entrance is on the left near the fork. Park on the open area opposite the entrance to Brown’s Hill Quarry.

For Holwell Mineral Line walk down the road from the parking area towards Holwell village. The entrance to the reserve is to the right of the old railway bridge. Walk down the track from the entrance on to the old railway cutting and the reserve runs in both directions as indicated on the map.

For North Quarry, walk across the cattle grid on the minor road to the north of the parking area (please leave the gate as you find it), and the reserve entrance is immediately on the right.

Managed By
LRWT

Group Common Name Latin Name Last Seen
Bees, Wasps, AntsGrey Mining BeeAndrena cineraria20/06/2012
Bees, Wasps, AntsEarly Mining BeeAndrena haemorrhoa04/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsAndrena scotica11/05/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsHoney BeeApis mellifera13/07/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsRed-tailed BumblebeeBombus lapidarius13/07/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsWhite-tailed Bumble BeeBombus lucorum agg.04/06/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsCommon Carder BumblebeeBombus pascuorum13/07/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsBedeguar Gall WaspDiplolepis rosae13/09/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsDusona circumspectans02/09/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsYellow Meadow AntLasius flavus11/05/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsSmall Black AntLasius niger11/05/2017
Bees, Wasps, AntsFabricius' Nomad BeeNomada fabriciana07/05/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsNomada flava07/05/2016
Bees, Wasps, AntsOphion scutellaris07/05/2016
BeetlesAphodius pedellus07/05/2016
BeetlesAplotarsus incanus11/05/2017
BeetlesAthous haemorrhoidalis11/05/2017
BeetlesRaspberry BeetleByturus tomentosus05/05/2014
BeetlesCantharis decipiens11/05/2017
BeetlesCantharis nigricans11/05/2017
BeetlesCantharis rustica04/06/2017
BeetlesThistle Tortoise BeetleCassida rubiginosa11/05/2017
BeetlesTortoise BeetleCassida vibex11/05/2017
BeetlesCassida viridis11/05/2017
Beetles7 Spot LadybirdCoccinella septempunctata15/04/2013
BeetlesGreen Dock BeetleGastrophysa viridula07/05/2016
BeetlesHarlequin LadybirdHarmonia axyridis04/06/2017
BeetlesHelophorus aequalis07/05/2016
BeetlesPollen BeetleMeligethes aeneus20/03/2016
BeetlesOedemera lurida21/06/2012