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30 July 2014
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Quarrying the Malverns
Quarrying   Quarrying of the Malvern Hills was very controversial and the scars are still visible today.
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See our picture gallery of the quarries on the Malvern Hills.

It's hard to believe in these more environmentally aware times that once there were more than a dozen quarries taking stone out of the Malvern Hills.

Quarry damage on North Hill
Scars of the quarrying still visible on the Hills today
Indeed quarrying was still going on at Gullet Quarry near Castlemorton Common 30 years ago.

The scars of the quarrying are still clearly visible today, particularly on North Hill.

Malvern stone was much sought after at the turn of the 20th Century, both for house building and for use in road building.

Even then the quarrying was controversial. The famous writer George Bernard Shaw wrote to the Times complaining about the effect the work was having on the Malvern skyline:

quote The approach to Malvern from the great plain of the Severn with the hills displayed on the western horizon has always had a peculiar charm. It now has a peculiar horror.
Visitors from Worcester used to see the unspoiled North Hill with an indescribable pleasure. They now see it hideously disfigured by three gigantic scoops reaching so nearly to the top of the ridge that they bring home with a shock the appalling conviction that before very long the scoop will go right through leaving a couple of enormous jagged teeth of hill, which will presently be blasted away in their turn changing the Malvern Hills into the Malvern Flats.quote
George Bernard Shaw: Letter to the Times

Buying the rights

Ironically it was the setting up of the Malvern Conservators in 1884 to protect the hills that contributed to the growth in quarrying.

Local landowners were allowed to maintain their quarrying rights in return for agreeing to the setting up of the Conservators.

Video 360 degree panoramic view from the top of North Hill

They then leased these rights to private firms who began the quarrying.

In the 1930's, at the height of the great depression, there was a real split in the town between those who wished to stop the quarrying to protect the hills and those who wanted to keep the quarries open because they provided jobs for local people.

In the end the Conservators had to buy out the quarrying rights in North Malvern and Little Malvern, taking out a loan to do it.

After the second world war the Malverns were declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty by the Labour Government, and the drilling and blasting all but stopped on the Malverns.

Quarrying at Gullet quarry though continued until 1977.

If you have any memories of quarrying on the Malverns then please e-mail us at: worcester@bbc.co.uk
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Listen to a special report on the railway tunnels under the Malvern Hills by BBC Hereford and Worcester's Claudia Berry (56k)
BBC download guide
Free Real player
More about the Malverns

Malvern Hills:
Beacons
Geology
History
Quarrying
Railway tunnels
Malvern water

360 degree pictures:
British camp
Millennium Hill
North Hill
Worcestershire Beacon
Wyche Cutting

 

Weblinks
Malvern Hills Conservators
Malvern Hills District Council
Malvern Civic Society

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
Contact us with your Malvern memories or send us your photographs




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