Patten's Rock Quarry
Patten's Rock Quarry is a long-disused limestone quarry tucked away in Benthall Edge Wood. The area is an outstanding example of flower-rich grassland, especially noted for its bee orchids and greater butterfly orchids, but also home to two of the Gorge's rarer butterflies, the dingy skipper and the green hairstreak.
The quarry's steep slopes and the poor, shallow soils provide such a tough environment for many of the commoner plants that it is possible for specialists such as the bee orchid to thrive. This is also a sheltered, sunny spot, encouraging a number of unusual insects, including uncommon species of bees, flies, and moths.
Ideally, the area is best grazed by sheep, but given its difficult location, the Trust concentrates on removing young trees and shrubs which are constantly seeking to establish themselves here. Allowed to continue, the area would ultimately revert to woodland, with consequential loss of a habitat that is extremely rare.