Report - - Crich/Hilts Quarry - Derbyshire - Feb 2019 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Crich/Hilts Quarry - Derbyshire - Feb 2019


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member

I'm no historian, I'd probably be the most useless historian of all time, but I do try to do my research before and after explores. So I hold my hands up and admit I've cheated slightly with this history write up.

Geologically, Crich lies on a small inlier of carboniferous limestone (an outcrop on the edge of Peak District surrounded by younger upper carboniferous rocks).

Quarrying for limestone probably began in Roman times. In 1791 Benjamin Outram and Samuel Beresford bought land for a quarry to supply limestone to their new ironworks at Butterfley.

This became known as Hilt's Quarry, and the stone was transported down a steep wagonway, the Butterley Company Gangroad, to the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge. Near there they also built lime kilns for supplying farmers and for the increasing amount of building work. Apart from a period when it was leased to Albert Banks, the quarry and kilns were operated by the Butterley Company until 1933

Quarrying in the early 1900s

The gangroad, descending some 300 feet in about a mile, was at first worked by gravity, a brakeman "spragging" the wheels of the wagons, which were returned to the summit by horses. However, in 1812 the incline was the scene of a remarkable experiment, when William Brunton, an engineer for the company, produced his steam horse locomotive.

In 1840 George Stephenson, in building the North Midland Railway, discovered deposits of coal at Clay Cross and formed what later became the Clay Cross Company. He realised that burning lime would provide a use for the coal slack that would otherwise go to waste. He leased Cliff Quarry and built limekilns at Bullbridge. They were connected by another wagonway including a section known as "The Steep", a 550 yards (500 m) self-acting incline at a slope of 1 in 5.

Cliff Quarry closed in 1957, though it restarted at the western end until 2010 when it was mothballed. The eastern end was bought by the Tramway Museum in 1959.

Hilt's Quarry closed in 1933 and is derelict. For 38 years, Rolls-Royce used it for dumping low-level radioactive waste such as Enriched Uranium, Cobalt-60 and Carbon-14. Following a campaign and blockades by villagers in the Crich and District Environment Action Group, dumping ceased in 2002. In 2004 the Government backed an Environment Agency document banning further dumping, and Rolls-Royce will be required to restore and landscape the site.

It was last used by Bardon Aggregates who closed it in 2010 after finding the limestone was contaminated with a substance that turned it a funny colour, and it never reopened.


I went here with my mate after seeing threads on the place and wanted to check it out for myself as we are pretty local to this. It was easy enough to find with the Tramway Museum being its neighbour. It was a pleasant walk round and really quiet. I went to scope this place out a week before when the tramway museum was open. A guy that worked there opened the gate between the museum and quarry and was in and out of the quarry on his tractor. Apart from this there was no other interruptions. It's a lovely place to go see and easily burns a hour. if you go past the plant machinery and head down in to the quarry its self there are 3 different coloured man made lakes. one is crystal clear, one is bright green (I presumed this may have something to do with the Rolls Royce dumping's) and one orange.

My photos have been taken on my phone. I do apologise for this and I have tried to edit some to the best of my capability. I do own a cannon now, so hopefully my pictures get better. Its my first thread so I hope you like it. I know this place has been done to death but it is awesome. I've got loads more reports to upload, so hopefully you'll like this one :)















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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Some nice sections of the limestone seam in the last picture. Its odd how they seem to leave so many steel structures in abandoned quarries, probably not economic to chop it all up for scrap especially if its miles from anywhere


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Some nice sections of the limestone seam in the last picture. Its odd how they seem to leave so many steel structures in abandoned quarries, probably not economic to chop it all up for scrap especially if its miles from anywhere
Yes it is odd. My guess would be the same as yours, that it wouldn't be economic to take it down and remove it for scrap. I'm glad they have left it up. It's stunning to see


28DL Member
28DL Member
Steel isn't worth much - there's an abandoned viaduct near to me that's massive, and not been used for many years. Only reason it's still there is because it would cost more to take down than what they would get from scrapping.

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