Darley Dale Quarry

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Stancliffe sandstone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire, is a yellow brown sandstone of variable grain size belonging to the millstone grit series of mid Carboniferous times, about 320 million years ago. The rock was formed by the deposits from rivers, flowing from the north, building up deltas as they entered into a sea. This sandstone is the source of quite a few buildings in central Manchester and is common throughout the North-West and beyond, (the columns of Leeds Town Hall and the whole of the front of St George's Hall, Liverpool are made of this stone), besides remaining the local stone of choice throughout the Darley Dale area of the Peak District. Yet at the source of its origin, because it lies close to a fault line beyond which limestone is the predominant rock, there is a sharp contrast between the building material used in adjacent villages. In the surrounding area, there are numerous traces of the smaller quarries which were utilised in earlier times for local building material. The huge Darley Dale quarry itself, the source of the stone used for the Town Hall Extension material, now lies vacant because it has primarily been exhausted, but is the site for some storage of building materials and the gleaning of stone that remain suitable for building. Several small buildings remain, along with the tunnel shaped shed, hewn out of the rock, which housed the steam engine that carried the stone-laden trucks from the quarry down to the railway line for transportation. The quarry bears the signs of different ages of excavation and the surrounding woods are full of spillage and rejected rocks, huge piles of stones tumbling through the dense glades and afforested slopes. Quarrying continues in nearby locations and has become associated with recent controversy following the heated protest aimed at defending the Nine Ladies Stone Circle from the potentially damaging effects of quarry expansion, which has been opposed by a collection of new age travellers and tree-dwellers..



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