Wenlock Edge Quarry to open to Public

As part of a wider regeneration of a former quarry at Wenlock Edge, its owner, renewable energy company Edge Renewables Ltd, has announced plans to create a brand new visitor centre and open-up public footpath access for a large area of the Lea Quarry site.

The company’s proposal includes for a new right of way leading off the well-trodden Shropshire Way footpath on Wenlock Edge which will create a circular path from Wenlock via the Edge - allowing access to the recently cleared ‘canyon’ area of the quarry – a site which continues to generate significant geological interest from around the world.

Having previously clashed with the National Trust over its future plans for the site, Edge Renewables has undertaken extensive surveys, removed the redundant quarry plant and levelled off the area that it was situated in – starting to re-clad some of the remaining buildings in the process.

Core to the site’s re-development are the plans to construct an internal building in which the company can quietly produce its sustainable biomass wood chip fuel, a new storage building to house renewable fuel ready for delivery and the relocation of the plant’s main activities from the entrance of the site further back to the original quarry plant site, which is well-screened from walkers on the Shropshire and Jack Mytton Way footpaths.

Simon Lloyd-Jones, managing director of Edge Renewables said: “We have given a lot of thought to the feedback received during our lengthy consultations with many interested stakeholders and we have listened to the objections that were received for our initial planning permission.  We feel that these plans will be of benefit to all concerned.”

“It will not only allow our business to move forward and implement our vision for site – playing its part in helping reduce this country’s carbon emissions - but it will also create new opportunities for walkers to safely cross the site and provide educational and academic visitors with a brand new visitor centre from which to study the amazing geology that Wenlock Edge offers.”

Andrew Jenkinson, Shropshire Geological Society’s projects officer, commented: “Shropshire Geological Society is delighted to learn of Edge Renewables’ plans for a Visitor Centre with public footpath access in Lea Quarry”

“Wenlock Edge and its limestone rock has always been of special interest to geologists and the wider public, but there has been no interpretation available at Lea Quarry itself”, Andrew added. “This new centre will provide visitors with the opportunity to see how one of Shropshire’s best-known landmarks started its existence over 400 million years ago, as coral reefs on the floor of a tropical sea. And it has given its name to the Wenlock period of geological time, recognised the world over.”

 A geological trail about Wenlock Edge is available from outlets in Much Wenlock and there is further information in the display at Much Wenlock Museum.

Councillor Milner Whiteman, Town Mayor of Much Wenlock, commented: “I fully support the work that Edge Renewables intends to do at the former quarry site.”

“They have already taken down the ugly gantries and are proceeding to implement the provision of a permissive footpath, a visitor centre and clearing the site to make it better for the flora and fauna to regenerate. All these improvements will make it a very attractive place to visit.”

Work is expected to start on the visitor centre and new public footpath following the approval of the plans and further consultation regarding timescales and designs.

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