There are numerous quarries and old industrial sites across the Belfast Hills. Many of these sites have naturally regenerated and are rich in biodiversity. However others are overgrown with scrub, have grasslands that are rank due to lack of cutting or grazing, have invasive species, illegal dumping or draining problems.
Other active industrial sites also exist in the Belfast Hills which provide an opportunity to work with site managers to initiate improvements for landscape and biodiversity alike.
To date work has been undertaken on numerous industrial sites – Black Mountain quarry, Aughrim Quarry, Mullaghglass quarry, MacWills quarry and the Limestone quarry, Cave Hill.
Staff from the Black Mountain, Aughrim, MacWills and Mullaghlass quarries have embraced the opportunity to work with BHP staff and volunteers on a number of biodiversity improvements to the site. This has included survey work, wildflower planting, training course on wildflowers and tree and hedge planting. These improvements have been spread across the four sites which are a mix of active and inactive quarries as well as landfills, both inert and household.
The Limestone quarry is an inactive/historic quarry. Work was undertaken with Belfast City Council staff and volunteers to remove invasive species and some scrub. Vegetation has been cut back over the years, and some earth turned over and wildflower seeds planted as a first step to enhancing this sites biodiversity. Volunteers have also been working to improve the habitat in the Limestone quarry for common lizards, Northern Ireland’s only native reptile, by removing scrub to expose open areas for the lizards to bask in the sun.