Stoke & Staffordshire

Trust aims to bring back rare birds to Staffordshire

A bittern
Image caption The trust hopes to turn the quarry into a nature reserve with a large reed bed, to encourage bitterns to breed

A wildlife trust is aiming to bring back rare bitterns to Staffordshire by spending £25,000 on buying a quarry.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust wants to buy 130-acre (5.2 sq km) Tucklesholme Quarry, near Barton-under-Needwood, and turn it into a nature reserve.

So far the trust, which has been fundraising since early November, has raised £18,000 for the project.

The trust believes bitterns, which were once extinct in Britain, have not bred in the county for more than a century.

'Finest nature reserve'

The trust's communications officer, Liz Peck, said: "We want bitterns to breed in Staffordshire but, at the moment, they don't have a suitable habitat.

"They like really big reed beds, so want to create one of the biggest reed beds in the county at the quarry."

Guy Corbett-Marshall, chief executive, added: "Tucklesholme has all the right ingredients to become one of our finest nature reserves."

The trust hopes to work with the quarry's owners, Aggregate Industries, to create a habitat suitable for bitterns.

Oliver Jones, a spokesperson for Aggregate, said the site - currently a sand and gravel quarry - will continue to operate as a working quarry following the sale.

"We will sell the land to the wildlife trust, then lease it back and extract the remaining minerals," he said. "In the long-term, it will become an environmental site."

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