Former gravel quarry-turned-landfill transforms into nature reserve

| Published on May 17, 2013

A former gravel quarry site that was used as a landfill (top) has been turned into a nature reserve (bottom). (Photo: The Independent)

A former gravel quarry site that was used as a landfill (top) has been turned into a nature reserve (bottom). (Photo: The Independent)

The Wildlife Trust and Cory Environment have teamed up to transform an old gravel quarry used as a landfill in Essex, England, into a nature reserve, The Independent reported.

The 50-year-old Mucking Landfill previously took 15 percent of London’s waste and at the start of the project was about 93 feet deep in garbage. The landfill-turned-reserve, now named Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, is near wetland and wooded areas and is now more inviting to hundreds of rare species including mammals, reptiles,  birds, insects and plants.

The transformation took about 20 years to complete and began with covering the landfill with clay to turn it into grassland. Soon after, wetlands were also created nearby. Thurrock Thameside Nature Park sits on 120 acres and will eventually expand to 845 acres.

Since the nature reserve is built on top of a landfill, the creators installed hydraulic jacks at 24 points to lift or lower the space and allow for settlement of the garbage beneath.

The reserve is now home to such wildlife as skylarks, owls, orchids, bees, lizards, mice, rabbits, spiders, butterflies and more.

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