What are Darcy Lever Gravel Pits?
Set in its 27-acre site, the Gravel Pits are one of the best places in the region for wildlife. Although gravel was extracted here 40 or so years ago to construct St Peter’s Way, nature has since worked its magic and the depressions created by the extraction of sand and gravel quickly filled with water and formed a number of ponds. The site has now become an oasis for wildlife, which is a home to many plant and animal species.
Why is the site important for wildlife?
The site is a haven for many species of flora and fauna, each having found it’s own particular niche. The combination of habitats gives the Gravel Pits a unique character that enables 18 species of dragonfly and over 20 breeding species of bird to thrive. Of the 5 species of amphibian on the site (including the famous great crested newt), most breed in the majority of ponds. Many species of mammal are there too, including bats, foxes and even the beautiful roe deer.
Because of its importance for wildlife, the site has been designated a grade 1 Site of Biological Importance, (only one step down from a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the best quality rating in conservation terms).
Why is management work required?
If left to natural processes, the heath and pond habitats, which are so important for wildlife, would eventually be covered by scrub, dry out and finally disappear. The unique character of the habitat would then be lost and much of this wildlife would be gone. To maintain and improve the total value of the site, a "Site Maintenance Plan" has been introduced. This maintenance plan with its controlled clearance of pond vegetation and woodland scrub from certain areas will maintain the variety of habitats, which exist on site. This in turn should benefit all the existing wildlife, and should encourage more species to inhabit the site in the years to come.
Where is Darcy Lever Gravel Pits?
Darcy Lever Gravel Pits is part of Moses Gate Country Park, found to the south of Bolton in Greater Manchester. The site belongs to Bolton Council and is open to the public all year round so visitors are welcome any time. To help find the site, please refer to our Location page to view a site map, or visit Rock Hall visitors centre, (within Moses Gate Country Park), and ask the Ranger Service for a leaflet; also published on this web site. For Rock Hall opening times and further information call the Ranger Service on 01204 334042.
Membership of GPAG is free, and you can join in with activities as much or as little as you wish.
To find out more, please contact Mike Fisher.