the limestone dales
The natural landform of a daleside in limestone country provides
features which support a wide range of plants and animals.
The major obvious features are rock buttresses, rock headwalls
and rock screes, both vegetated and un-vegetated. These are
supplemented by gullies, vegetated ledges, soil filled crevices,
undisturbed cliff tops, boulders and exposed horizontal bed
The size and scale of these features vary widely. Some dales
exhibit gorge like proportions with cliffs over 60m high. Others
are more gentle with small outcrops of less than a metre, running
across a flower-rich hillside. Together there is a complex
mix of shade and sun; damp and dry; bare rock and soil; mobile
slopes and solid rock; exposed cliff faces and dark crevices.
Every feature, whether large or small provides conditions suitable
for different types of wildlife and it is this structural variety
which makes limestone dales, not only attractive to the eye,
but also one of the richest of natural habitats.
Restoration blasting can shape the plainest of quarry faces
to replicate more natural features. In doing this, not only
is the shape of a daleside being re-created but also the structures
are being formed which are necessary to support the richness
of wildlife associated with limestone dales. See wildlife
species and wildlife habitats.