Former gravel quarry opened up to the public

PUBLISHED: 10:43 17 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

Opening up the restored land

Opening up the restored land

A LARGE stretch of countryside which had been used for gravel extraction has been opened up to the public. People are now free to roam more than 30 hectares of land along Harper Lane, St Albans, which belongs to building materials company Lafarge. The are

A LARGE stretch of countryside which had been used for gravel extraction has been opened up to the public.

People are now free to roam more than 30 hectares of land along Harper Lane, St Albans, which belongs to building materials company Lafarge.

The area is part of a 73-hectare stretch restored by Lafarge, which set up the site in 1951 and still runs a hub for stone, gravel and sand alongside the recently-released land.

The countryside opened to the public has extensive tree planting, grass and shrub land, productive arable farmland and a picnic area.

A network of paths have been established which link the area to the nearby Broad Colney Lakes Nature Reserve and is expected to attract walkers and horse riders.

A wooded area has been established with support from the Woodland Grants Scheme and it features many different species of broadleaf British trees. It is already home to much native wildlife, including many types of butterfly.

Materials from the Lafarge site are used in local construction projects and vehicle movements in the area are minimised through use of the company's own railway branch.

Julie Boyce, area business manager for Lafarge, said: "Lafarge has an established track record across the country, including in Herts, for high-quality restoration of workings to nature conservation, recreational use and agriculture. Harper Lane is a great example of such a scheme and one in which industry and the environment enjoys mutual benefit."

She added: "Having successfully created such an attractive area of countryside, including the extensive woodland, we are now delighted to welcome the public onto it."

Cllr John Bell, chairman of St Stephen Parish Council, was invited to officially open the new footpaths and he said the route from Harper Lane to London Colney was a real advantage.

He added: "They have planted quite a lot of trees so I think the landscape is going to be much improved. But the main thing is the linking of communities with the footpath which we didn't have before. It will keep people off the roads and they can take a nice stroll through the countryside instead.


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