Mendips header
 
 Home
 Overview maps
 Locality areas
  Cheddar Gorge
 Charterhouse
 Blackdown
 Burrington Combe
 Shipham & Rowberrow
 Crook Peak & Axbridge
 Banwell to Churchill
 Priddy
 Harptree & Smitham Hill
 Draycott & Westbury-sub
 -Mendip
 Wookey Hole & Ebbor
 Gorge
 Wells
 Great Elm & Vallis Vale
 Mells & the Wadbury Valley
 The Vobster area
 The Whatley area
 Torr Works & Asham Wood
 Beacon Hill
 Stoke St Michael & Oakhill
 Holwell & Nunney
 Shepton Mallet & Maesbury
 Gurney Slade & Emborough
 The Nettlebridge valley
 Geology
 Rocks of Mendips
 Fossils
 Geological timescale
 Ancient environments
 Geological structure
 Minerals and mines
  Minerals and mines
 Industrial archaeology
 Quarrying
  Stone as a resource
 Employment & the economy
 Quarrying & geodiversity
 Quarrying & the environment
 History of quarrying
 Caves and karst
 How caves form
 Dry valleys and gorges
 Dolines and sinkholes
 Mendip caves
 Going caving
 Hydrogeology
 Biodiversity
  Flora and fauna
 Typical Mendip habitats
 Special Mendip habitats
 Horseshoe bats
 Appendix of names
 Biodiversity of western
 Mendip
 Biodiversity of eastern
 Mendip
 External links
 Detailed site information
  Coal mining
  Mendip quarry companies
  East Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of eastern
 Mendip
  West Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of western
 Mendip
 Acknowledgements
 Site map
Aggregates industry
Mendip quarry history | Quarrying for building stone | Quarrying for early lime-burning | Quarrying for aggregate

Quarrying for aggregate

Limestone has been the main rock produced in Somerset and increasingly large proportions of this have been won from Mendip. Almost all the stone quarried is now used as aggregates, mainly for making roads (with andesite for the surface and limestone for the lower road courses) and for concrete. Many of the larger quarry operators now have specialised tar coating plants for road stone, or concrete block-works making a variety of concrete products.

Output until 1919 was generally below 0.5 million tonnes per year, but increased road building and construction in the interwar period caused it to be almost tripled by 1931. It then fluctuated over the next twenty years but rose from 2 to 3 million tonnes in the 1950s to a new peak of 12.6 million tonnes in 1973, largely on the basis of 'exports' to south-east England. Following the late 1980s construction boom, output rose to a peak of 18.8 million tonnes in 1990, but with falling demand, fell back to a level generally between 11.0 and 14.0 million tonnes per year. Somerset ranks third after Derbyshire and Leicestershire in terms of aggregates output. Since 1974, Somerset production of crushed rock has averaged about 10% of the national output.

  Total permitted reserves of rock in Somerset quarries in 2003 were 671 million tonnes, equivalent to 54 years of production, almost exactly half of the regional total. As well as active quarries, the Somerset figure included reserves at about a dozen (mostly small) inactive sites.

Whatley Quarry truck
goto the British Geological Survey home page