Langford Lowfields, reached a momentous milestone last month, when ownership of 120ha of land including reedbed, woodland, grassland and scrub, transferred from sustainable building materials and construction solutions business Tarmac and also from Trinity College, Cambridge, to the RSPB.

There has been a long build up to this historic moment, with the RSPB having worked in partnership with Tarmac at Langford Quarry since the late 80’s, when a joint planning application was submitted. The land transfer agreement involving the three interested parties was then signed a decade later in 1998.

Langford is dominated by a developing reedbed, which will become the largest in the East Midlands and the site is held up as an exemplar example of how to restore a former quarry site. During 2022 the reedbed supported two bittern nests, a first for Nottinghamshire. Alongside the bitterns, bearded tits have bred, elvers have recently been found, marsh harriers are regular and if you’re lucky you might even see an otter gliding past. The colder winter months we’re in at the moment are marked by large flocks of wildfowl, ghostly barn owls and captivating starling murmurations backlit by burning sunsets.

The land transfer agreement may have been fulfilled and ownership of the land transferred, but this is not the end of the partnership, which has gone from strength-to-strength over the years. The mutual vision is for the RSPB to continue taking on management of new quarry extensions as and when they are restored, feeding into Tarmac’s impressive restoration process throughout the journey and ensuring the habitats created, deliver as much for wildlife as possible.

Bearded tit (one of Langford's iconic breeding species) photo taken by Stuart Carlton