From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Kilmington Quarry

50° 46' 19.8" N 3° 1' 43.8" W
  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Kilmington Quarry lies between the village of Kilmington and the river Axe. The quarry works material from the Axe Valley Gravels that date from the Quaternary Period. These are deep beds between 10 and 12 metres in thickness of crudely bedded and poorly sorted coarse river gravels and sands which have a capping of wind-blown silty material. The gravels contain pebbles of chert, flint, Greensand and chalk. The outcrop of the gravel bearing deposits occurs sporadically, and with varying thickness, throughout the area, extending westwards from the northern part of the site beneath Kilmington Village.

There is evidence of many old quarry sites in the woods and in the fields, marked as pits on the ordinance survey map. It is thought these early quarries were used for maintaining the country roads and the coach routes that used the Roman Road close by.

In the early 1930's the Council quarried the field at the top of Gammons Hill beyond the Farm. It was subsequently bought by Mr. Harold Pratt of Tytherleigh. The quarry has provided sand and grit for the Ready Mix Concrete Works for at least fifty years. At the beginning of the Second World War huge quantities of materials were taken to help the construction of aerodrome runways at Dunkeswell and Smeathorpe which were used by American Liberator bombers. When exhausted it was finally refilled with inert material and about twenty five years ago grassed over.

Kilmington quarries are part of very extensive gravel beds in the Axe Valley. The material quarried was washed and crushed in a plant which has recently been removed. The muddy water was pumped back to settle in the first quarry as a sludge pit before the flint was crushed and graded from coarse grit to fine sand. There is a story of a tractor sinking in the sludge - such is the danger even today. A second quarry was behind the Whitford Road Council houses and during the last decade a layer of soil has allowed this site to be planted with grass. A four acre site beyond South View was quarried to a depth of sixty feet and in filled very quickly by fleets of lorries bringing inert material through the Village from building sites in Axminster. Before quarrying ceased and all the plant removed the quarry behind Gammons Hill was started.