Beaumont quarry is a unique natural location within Cork city.
It is an old abandoned limestone quarry that lies adjacent to Pairc Uí Rinn and Temple Hill, just southeast of the city centre. Not only is it an important place for recreation, it is also very important for local biodiversity and wildlife conservation. Given its close proximity to the city, Beaumont quarry is a haven for Cork’s urban wildlife.
Objectives of the project
In collaboration with the Cork City Council and Beaumont local residents committee, Cork Nature Network has been working in Beaumont Quarry since 2015 with the aim of protecting the site for conservation, research, education and recreation. As part of this project, we regularly hold events in the quarry to maintain the area and spread awareness about the importance of this site. Cork Nature Network’s 2022-2027 management plan for Beaumont quarry outlines six main objectives:
- To conserve and enhance the dry calcareous grassland, an important semi-natural habitat within the city;
- To maintain the rare Red Data Book plant species little robin, the protected bat species and other native species of flora and fauna at favourable conservation status within the site;
- To conserve and enhance the other semi-natural habitats (woodland, scrub, hedgerow, caves) within the site;
- To develop the quarry as a recreational amenity area in a semi natural setting for public use within the city;
- To provide facilities and opportunities for education in conservation and natural history.
Wildlife in Beaumont Quarry
Cork Nature Network has conducted several surveys in Beaumont quarry over the years and these have uncovered a wide variety of species. As of 2021, 154 plant species have been found in the quarry. Of particular interest is the calcareous grassland habitat that is present on the limestone rock throughout the site. Calcareous grasslands are a relatively rare habitat characterised by mineral-rich, shallow soils. They can be highly biodiverse and in Beaumont quarry they are home to some uncommon species, including Pale Flax, Common Toadflax and Greater Burnet-Saxifrage. The quarry also provides a refuge for a very rare species, the Little Robin (Geranium purpureum). This species is only found along the southern coast of Ireland. The presence of this species within Beaumont quarry is very important as it is classed as ‘near threatened’ in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016.
In terms of animals, Beaumont is home to many different species including red fox, Irish hedgehog, and wood mouse. Several invasive animals have also been observed in the quarry, including the greater white-toothed shrew. A bat detector survey conducted in 2018, also found three bat species in the quarry: Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Leisler’s bat. This makes the protection of Beaumont quarry crucial as all bat species are protected under EU and Irish law.
Unfortunately, as with many natural sites, Beaumont Quarry is affected by a variety of threats which impact on wildlife. These include the dumping of human waste, human disturbance, scrub encroachment, and the presence of invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed and winter heliotrope. Cork Nature Network is consistently working to solve these issues through public awareness and intervention. Regular clean-up events have been ongoing since 2015 to address dumping and these have proven to be very effective, although unfortunately dumping is still an issue. Another huge issue in Beaumont quarry is the presence and proliferation of invasive species. Non-native scrub removal has been done to remove these species and to slow the scrub encroachment on the calcareous grassland. There are also ongoing plans in collaboration with the Cork City Council to deal with some of the invasive species in the quarry, such as Japanese knotweed.
Cork Nature Network endeavours to keep protecting the biodiversity within Beaumont quarry and to encourage awareness and education about the importance of wildlife conservation in the area. This site is of vital importance to Cork’s wildlife and it is crucial that it is protected.
Visit Beaumont Quarry
To gain access to the quarry there are two main entrances: you can enter the site from Beaumont Drive (sat nav. 51°53’32.1″N 8°25’44.6″W) or from Beaumont Cottages just off Churchyard Lane (sat nav. 51°53’31.1″N 8°25’54.5″W). From Beaumont Drive, climb up the hill behind the trees.
Events in Beaumont Quarry
Cork Nature Network regularly runs events throughout the year in Beaumont Quarry, including our regular clean-ups (September to April), wildlife talks and events for families. If you are interested in getting involved with these events, or helping out with the Beaumont quarry project, please contact us.
If you are interested in helping with clean ups and conservation management events in Beaumont Quarry, then please submit your details using the button below to be informed of future activities.
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Beaumont Quarry resources
Thank you to Rebecca O’Sullivan and Kate O’Mahony for their help with providing information for this page. We also would like to thank our partners Cork City Council for their support of this project.