Three Quarries, Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire, September 2020

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Jan 6, 2013
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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. Background
The Derbyshire village of Stoney Middleton located in the White Peak can be traced back to Roman times. It’s famous for its proximity to the plague village of Eyam and its location just due west of Middleton Dale meant it has also become a major centre for Peak District rock climbers. The valley of carboniferous limestone (calcium carbonate) has meant that Middleton Dale has been quarried for hundreds of years to produce lime and to provide stone for the construction industry. Stoney Middleton stone can be found in numerous important buildings including the nearby Chatsworth House, Windsor Castle, Houses of Parliament, and the Bank of England.

Early methods of quarrying were rudimentary and relied on manpower to split and break up the rocks with little mechanisation beyond a horse and cart. The use of gunpowder in blasting at the beginning of the 19th century significantly increased production and led to the established limestone quarrying as we know it today. Quarries like the ones in Stoney Middleton have led to the Peak District becoming Britain’s largest lime and limestone producer.

Gang of quarrymen at Goddard’s quarry:

50332947827_bc15dffbf7_b.jpggoddards-quarry by HughieDW, on Flickr

There is also an extensive system of caves that are connected to old lead mine shafts.

2. The Pictures
We had a look round three old quarries that stand side by side near Stoney Middleton along the dale

(I) Goddard’s Quarry
The former Goddard's limestone quarry, now restored and returned to nature, is the closest of the three quarries to Stoney Middleton. During the sixties, the main road was frequently closed to traffic while blasting took place in Goddard’s Quarry, which is currently the property of R.M.C.Roadstone Ltd. It’s popular with climbers and the smallest of the three. No buildings remain, just the long main quarry face with its three, layered galleries and its distinctive red rocks at the bottom of the quarry.

50328715162_593d46e7d2_b.jpgStoney 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328658902_518e5d934a_b.jpgimg9042 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327810613_3561acd2ef_b.jpgimg9046 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327810188_1f719dd5f9_b.jpgimg9047 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327811423_b48accb7b1_b.jpgimg9043 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328476751_4a03b097c3_b.jpgimg9044 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not sure what this purple mineral is here:

50328535316_08d4b817f9_b.jpgStoney 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But I think this fossil is a brachiopod:

50328656047_fc4472a586_b.jpgimg9049 by HughieDW, on Flickr

(II) Darlton Quarry
Opposite Lovers Leap Garage, this is the middle of the three quarries. This is the only one of the three quarries that has a few buildings remaining, albeit sealed tight. It was recently on the market with estate agent Fisher German but am unsure if it sold.

50328671562_70f90139c6_b.jpgimg9002 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328668697_c76c2ea8f6_b.jpgimg9012 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327820793_32154b5fcd_b.jpgimg9017 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328667932_588231ffb4_b.jpgimg9016 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328489296_f1c3bb5f88_b.jpgimg9008 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The two galleried main wall:

50327824553_539b053371_b.jpgimg9003 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327822523_43a24ddc96_b.jpgimg9011 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The former quarry buildings, all sealed tight:

50328488886_f626be66fe_b.jpgimg9010 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328489581_5d47722494_b.jpgimg9007 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A spade or a ******* shovel?

50327824193_9a8b054f0c_b.jpgimg9006 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328666877_dcd861ec1a_b.jpgimg9019 by HughieDW, on Flickr

(III) Hidden Quarry (formerly Darlton 2)

Not much info on this place. This was the largest quarry of the three. It has 68 climbing routes spread over seven different areas of the quarry.

50328666127_f61f773b20_b.jpgimg9021 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The impressive three galleried quarried cliff is popular with the climbing fraternity:

50328716047_8e09edb66d_b.jpgStoney 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328484271_c493d22a34_b.jpgimg9023 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328715867_630498e3c2_b.jpgStoney 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328483471_b0cd46e4cf_b.jpgimg9025 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View from the first gallery of the cliff:

50328715697_c7bcdcd0f3_b.jpgStoney 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327816958_1ec206e3c5_b.jpgimg9028 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327816553_ea3110a725_b.jpgimg9029 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327813823_fafc4fd087_b.jpgimg9034 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50328660112_c668524628_b.jpgimg9036 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50327812423_19078f6bfa_b.jpgimg9039 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Richard Davies

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Apr 6, 2007
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I've passed though the village many times on family visits but near had the chance to see what was there.


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Dec 2, 2008
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Nice report mate - i pressume there were never many buildings on these sites in the first place ... Unlike North Wales .. !


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Nov 4, 2018
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Nice report mate - i pressume there were never many buildings on these sites in the first place ... Unlike North Wales .. !

I used to work at the Darlton quarry
in the 90's, there were quite a few buildings there at one time, brick plant ect.


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Jan 7, 2018
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I lived not too far from there for twenty odd years. When Goddard's quarry was still in operation I won the chance to "fire a particularly big shot" there in a charity auction. I turned up in the morning for a safety briefing but when they found out I had a bit of explosive history and professional firework experience they sent me out with the loading and fusing team for some hands on. It was fascinating, they first computer model the face entering how much rock they want to remove and how it wants to fracture and the software produces a drilling/loading plan. After the drilling team had bored a pattern of holes we went round lowering big sausages of explosives with fuses down the holes ensuring they went right to the bottom. The sausages come in a range of bangs from loud to very very loud. Until then I hadn't realized they put more bang at the bottom, firing it slightly in advance to push the rock far enough from the face so the layer above can fall just behind it and the top layer can fall at the back. It is obviously easier / safer to remove the rock with a digger when it's not in a big high pile..
When I actually fired it later in the afternoon the whole earth seemed to rock even quite a way back from the face. - A grand day out!