Mendips header
 Overview maps
 Locality areas
  Cheddar Gorge
 Burrington Combe
 Shipham & Rowberrow
 Crook Peak & Axbridge
 Banwell to Churchill
 Harptree & Smitham Hill
 Draycott & Westbury-sub
 Wookey Hole & Ebbor
 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
 Rocks of Mendips
 Geological timescale
 Ancient environments
 Geological structure
 Minerals and mines
  Minerals and mines
 Industrial archaeology
  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
  Flora and fauna
 Typical Mendip habitats
 Special Mendip habitats
 Horseshoe bats
 Appendix of names
 Biodiversity of western
 Biodiversity of eastern
 External links
 Detailed site information
  Coal mining
  Mendip quarry companies
  East Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of eastern
  West Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of western
 Site map


The Mendip Hills have long been exploited for stone, and a wide variety of rock types have been quarried for various purposes. Today, quarrying is an important local industry particularly in eastern Mendip, and has had a major impact on both local communities and the environment. Until the beginning of the 20th century, most quarries were small local concerns producing agricultural lime and building stone. The Carboniferous Limestone, Quartzitic Sandstone, Dolomitic Conglomerate and various Lower and Middle Jurassic limestones have all been quarried for building stone, and can be seen in local churches, houses and stone walls. Many of these old quarries are now important wildlife habitats and Sites of Special Scientific Interest for their geology.

  Dumper truck, Whatley Quarry

By far the most valuable product today is the Carboniferous Limestone. It forms an important raw material for a wide variety of purposes, both because of its physical properties and its chemical composition. It can be used as crushed rock aggregate for the construction industry, as an essential raw material for cement and concrete manufacture and a source of building stone. It can also used in steel and glass making, sugar refining, the chemical industry, and for reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide from coal-fired power stations.

Quarrying is a sensitive and complex issue. On the one hand quarries supply raw materials to meet many of society's needs, create employment and contribute to the local economy, but on the other hand they can have a significant impact upon the environment and local communities. These issues can be explored further by following the links:

  Disused quarry in Burrington Oolite, near Cheddar

Quarries are dangerous places
On no account enter a working quarry without permission from the operator, or a disused quarry without permission from the landowner.

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