25 November 2016

Quarrying

Sheep on the grassy western slopes of Highlow
The Peak District is England's oldest national park. Within its boundaries there are sheep farms but no wind farms. Planning legislation is pretty tough. If you own a house or cottage within the national park, you must seek special approval for any significant changes you hope to make to your home. 

The southern half of The Peak District is limestone country. In fact, it is often referred to as The White Peak. The village I visited yesterday, Earl Sterndale, is right on the edge of  The White Peak and if you look eastwards from the door of "The Quiet Wonan" you see a  typical grassy limestone hill rising above the village.

However, things are not quite as they seem because at the top of this great hill, called Highlow, there is a track that marks the boundary of the national park. To the eastern side of this track there's a mile long security fence and beyond  that there are three huge limestone quarries. Effectively, you find yourself looking over a high cliff into massive holes in the ground from which millions of tons of limestone have been extracted.

The limestone is mainly used for road building and the manufacture of cement. It is a vital resource but thank heavens The Peak Planning Authority have severely limited quarrying activity with the park's boundaries. There's a big quarry at Hope but that existed before The Peak District came into being

When I took the steep path up Highlow from Earl Sterndale I was rewarded with wonderful illumination from the west. It shone down on the quarries and I was able to snap several pictures of the surreal and slightly disturbing scenes I saw before me. Here's a sample:-

16 comments:

  1. Yes, disturbing. When are the clowns going to realize that we are running out of good building material and start reusing materials. like limestone.

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    1. You have a point there Red. Virgin materials are probably cheaper and more easy to process. So profit is king.

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  2. The view makes The Quiet Woman pub even more appealing. And the limestone quarry? A blight on the landscape? It is.
    But try telling that to the people who would claim they can't live without the products from limestone or those that make profits from its mining.

    Alphie

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    1. You are right Alphie. In the end, living on a planet with 7.3 billion other people, preserving beautiful countryside isn't always the top priority.

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  3. The last picture looks like something out of a science fiction film. Lone astronaut YP discovering a secret base on the far side of the moon.

    The quarries reminded me of what we saw on Jersey in May this year. I can't remember right now whether I posted a picture of it, but at one end of the island, there is a large quarry. I guess these people know what they're doing (?), because it seems even more peculiar to do quarrying on an island, so to speak slicing away the rock you're sitting on.

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    1. Astronaut Major YP to Houston...
      The last picture effectively shows the top of a great limestone wall that divides two of the quarries.
      P.S. I hate the dehydrated space food.

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  4. I remember driving through and coming upon a large cement works with a towering high chimney. We couldn't believe our eyes amidst all that beautiful scenery.

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    1. You are probably referring to The Hope Cement Works Hellen - between Hathersage and Castleton - smack bang in the middle of The Hope Valley.

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    2. Yes, I think you are right YP.

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  5. Wow...very Dr Who.

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    1. It did look like a film set Libby.

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  6. Sometimes I wish we could go back a few hundred or so years and live more pristinely; no cars, planes, trains, sealed roads, etc., etc., et al...the simple life...free from all industry, technology etc...less people.

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    1. I know what you mean. That's one of my fantasies too.

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    2. I love Dutch landscape paintings from the 1600s for just this reason. Meindert Hobbema and the like -- when you look at those canvases you can just imagine that world, with no cars or plastic or burning fossil fuels! (Of course, they had bubonic plague, so there is that...)

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  7. Quarrying is, unfortunately, a necessity of modern life.

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  8. Those industrial landscapes can be interesting, even beautiful, in their own way. The terrific light makes these pictures!

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