The Quarr is Sherborne’s own Local Nature Reserve, designated by Dorset County Council and English Nature in 2004. Once a quarry, providing stone for local builders, and later a Fair Ground and landfill site, its 2½ hectares of woodland and grassland is owned and maintained by Sherborne Town Council with support from Eucan, a Community Interest Company (CIC) working in the UK and other countries of Europe to involve more people and communities in the conservation management of their local environment. Its exposed Jurassic cliff faces, revealing millions of years of history, make it a Dorset Important Geological Site (DIGS).
The Quarr acts as a buffer between the town and surrounding farmland, an area of green space in which to walk and enjoy the fine views to the south west. One of the official Sherborne Town Walks passes through the reserve (see Walks Series No. 4 obtainable from Sherborne Town Council and Sherborne Tourist Information Centre).
Habitat improvement is a priority over the winter, brambles have been cleared, a hedge of native species has been planted, and much of the woodland has been coppiced. It is hoped to see the return of the Marbled White butterfly to the newly created meadow area, and for the local speciality, Meadow Cranesbill, to flourish once again. The woodland area, much of which was planted as a community woodland about 10 years ago, provides an important habitat for nesting birds.
The Quarr can be accessed from Bristol Road and Blackberry Lane by the Mermaid Hotel, and is open permanently all year round.