I’ve always found quarries disturbing places – the wholesale delving into the earth, the ravaged landscapes left behind. And yes, I know we need the resources. (Our own house is built of this fossilized Silurian Sea, although actually I’d be just as happy with brick or timber).
Shadwell Quarry behind Much Wenlock’s Windmill Hill is only one of the many old limestone quarries along Wenlock Edge. These days they are no longer worked but host various business enterprises that simply need a large amount of storage space. Quarry owners are supposed to do some restoration after the blasting has stopped, but I’ve not noticed much of this actually happening.
These photos show how slowly recolonization of quarried land takes place. (For an aerial view go HERE.) It has been twenty years since Shadwell was decommissioned.
The water in the quarry bottom is also a strange blue, almost turquoise at times, coloured by the limestone deposits. At over seventy feet deep, it lures tipsy young men to prove their manliness by diving in from one of the man-made cliffs while their mates film the act and post the videos on You Tube. Last summer I spotted gangs of school leavers heading off behind Windmill Hill. They were armed with ghetto blasters and towels and I overheard them saying they were ‘going to the beach’.
It’s interesting how people’s perceptions of places differ. One sees ‘exciting resort’; another oppressive dereliction – albeit with strains of desolate grandeur.
I’ve written more about the history of Wenlock’s limestone quarrying at Hidden Wenlock #4
This week at Lost in Translation Paula’s theme is ‘forbidding’. Please call in there if you want to take part in the challenge. She suggests many possibilities for interpretation.