Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Stags Fell Quarries

A set of quarries cut into Yoredale Sandstone beds, locally known as Hardraw Slates, extending for 1km or so just below the 500m contour. What remain are massive discard piles, downslope of the quarry workings, several discrete bays where stone was won, ruins of dressing sheds and cabins, and adits driven northwards into the hill. At the western end one adit is intact and is barrel-vaulted initially where it is 2m high, though further in the roof is 2.7m above the floor; width is 1.6m. After c. 43m the adit bifurcates with an opening on the left (west) side into a pillar and stall working, and a tunnel running right (east) for a further 15m at which point it becomes effectively impassable. A short distance east of this adit is a second (now 50m-long) level with a horizontally-laid lintel and a flat roof: this level runs in a straight line for c. 20m to a right-hand turn where it divides into three but is effectively blocked by roof fall. This level is 1.2m wide and too low for ponies to have operated within it. Further east still, set at the foot of a vertical quarried face, is a third level which initially drops down into a broad and high cavern-like passage which turns through two corners before bifurcating after c. 50m from the entrance - one passage terminates but the other opens out into a broad and high chamber with supporting roof pillars. There is physical evidence to suggest that there were further adits, all now blocked at the entrance.

Hardraw Slates were highly regarded and reached markets far and wide, being dispatched from Garsdale Station to East Lancashire and further afield.

Its early history is unknown but the main growth arose from the coming of the railway from east and west in 1878, though prior to that stone was carted west to Garsdale Station. In 1813 the quarry was leased from Lord Wharncliffe and operated by Parker & Co but only producing roofing flags on a small scale. By the 1840s it had grown in size considerably and as demand grew in the second half of the 19th century, poorer quality stone worked in open quarries was replaced by less weathered and better quality stone from levels driven into the hillside. Its production heyday was in the 1880s-90s. In the early 20th century the quarry (by 1906 the Abbotside quarry Co.) slowly declined and fell into disuse soon after 1930.

I. Spensley. 2014. Mines and miners of Wensleydale. Privately published, pp. 46, 135, 137, 139, 297-98.
D. Johnson. 2016. Quarrying in the Yorkshire Pennines. Stroud: Amberley, p. 40.

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Key Words :- wensleydale dimension stone roofing stone quarries stone mines
Address :- Cliff Gate Road, Sedbusk, Hawes, North Yorkshire
Grid Ref :- SD 869 929
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 54.331495 , Long - -2.202951
Local Authority :-
Pre 1974 County :- Yorkshire - North Riding
Site Condition :- Site disused - but otherwise substantially intact
Site Status :- Site extant - Protected status unknown
Site Dates :- 19th century(?) - c. 1930