KETTON OLD QUARRY - SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST (SSSI)
Acknowledgements to Leicestershre and Rutland Wildlife Trust which is the source for this information. For further information and events at Ketton Quarry please go to
Ketton Quarry is located in eastern Rutland.
From the A47 take the A6121 towards Stamford. This road passes through Ketton, but just before leaving the village turn left into Pit Lane. The entrance to the reserve is on the left about 400 m further on just after the roundabout.
We encourage visitors to use environmentally friendly forms of transport wherever possible. Most of our reserves are easily accessible by bicycle, with many close to the National Cycle Network. Please note that cycling is not permitted on the nature reserve itself.
Public transport - contact Traveline for further information or phone 0871 200 22 33.
Dogs are permitted on this nature reserve but only under strict control - able to bring to heel at all times.
Status and access
The reserve, which covers 27.5 ha, is leased by the Trust from Castle Cement. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
History, habitats & management
Ketton Quarry is an active limestone extraction site, but the reserve is a long worked-out area consisting of hills and holes that have been colonised by calcareous grassland plants and scrub. Part of the reserve area was planted with beech trees in about 1920. In recent years local volunteers have cleared some of the scrub and grazed the grassland with donkeys. The Trust's small flock of manx loghtan sheep now graze the reserve, and the rate of scrub removal has been increased so that more calcareous grassland, a nationally important wildlife habitat, can be established. The intention is to link up all of the remaining pockets of grassland, but to leave some scrub. Manx Loghtan sheep belonging to the trust have grazed in the paddocks in rotation since 2004
Some of the rock faces are kept clear of vegetation to facilitate geological study.
Features of interest
The mosaic of calcareous grassland, scrub and woodland at Ketton Quarry forms an exceptional habitat for a wide variety of animals and plants. Species present in the grassland include butterflies such as marbled white and grizzled and dingy skippers, many rare moths, glowworm, common lizard and adder. Many flowering plants are present, too, like bee orchid, cowslip, yellow-wort, autumn gentian, viper's bugloss and carline thistle.
Although the scrub threatens to shade out all of the grassland if left unchecked, it does provide valuable habitat for birds such us nightingale and turtle dove and so some will be maintained. The beech wood contains the only colony of yellow bird's-nest in Leicestershire and Rutland. This plant has no chlorophyll but lives on leaf mould.
The geology trail is now closed following rock falls which have made the rock faces unstable and potentially dangerous.
THE SINC STREAM
The stream rises as a spring in the field behind Spring Cottage and was once one of the main sources of water for the village, and had watercress beds. There was also an osier bed from which willow baskets were made. The upper area of the spring provided water for dwellings. However the lower reaches of the stream were polluted by water from a slaughterhouse and also waste water from Saint Mary’s laundry.
The Sinc Stream area in Ketton was bought by the Parish Council in the early 1960s to secure another green open space for the benefit of the village.
Some 20 years ago a village working group cleared the stream, trimmed the overhanging trees and created an ’eddy pool’ as the stream entered Chater. The eddy pool was designed to provide a special environment for plants that would not develop in the relatively fast flowing Sinc stream. However, over time the Sinc Stream area had deteriorated so in 2011 the Parish Council commissioned a report which was carried out by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
The aim of the report was to establish the wildlife value of the environment around the Sinc Stream and come up with options for the future development of the site. On completion of the survey, the parish council took the decision to implement the Wildlife Trust’s management plan, which was launched in 2013, aided with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Whitebread Trust, as well as the Wildlife Trust.
Volunteers were called for to take part in the project, not only to enhance the area, but to nurture its bio-diversity. Joe Davis, senior reserve officer of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, showed them what could be done on the stream. It was decided on a three year time window for completion of the project. In February 2015 the parish council said the work is well on track for completion within the allotted time span and will be “not only a wildlife habitat but a delightful area in which to walk” due to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers in bringing the Sinc Stream back to its former glory.
Hall Close is a very popular Parish Council owned and maintained recreation area in the heart of the village. Facilities include a hard court multi-use games area, and play equipment for both young people and young children. This very popular public open space also includes an orchard and seating areas.
The village footpaths are enjoyed and used by villagers for recreation and also to move around the village. The Sinc Stream foot path is regularly used by people from Geeston and Aldgate to access the centre of the village.
The main footpaths in use are
Geeston - Sooty Bridge - Aldgate - Sinc Lane - Bull Lane
Church Road – Mill Lane - Barrowden Road
Home Farm track - quarry - pits - geological site
Manor Green - Hunts Lane
Geeston - Sewerage Treatment works - Railway arch - Hanson Cement