© Crown Copyright: image reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
Box Quarry is an SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest) because of its national importance for hibernating and roosting bats. The bats must not be disturbed in any way.
Box Quarry is at the western end of the MOD's Tunnel Quarry site and is partly owned by the MOD but after some modification it was only used as an air inlet for the Tunnel Quarry complex.
Posted by Higgypop Admin last updated Mon 18 Aug 2008 at 19:54
Box, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
Grid reference: ST836693
Box Quarry is open to the public through several entrances. However, it is highly recommended that you visit with an experienced guide or at the very least, ensure that you have a copy of the map.
Visited by 24 explorers
Photos of Box Quarry
Box Quarry history
Box Quarry is by far the biggest and most complex of all the Bath Stone mines, it is in fact the largest stone mine in the country with many miles of interconnecting passages.
Stone had been quarried from Box Hill since medieval times using open pits but the extent of the stone was unknown until Isambard Kingdom Brunel came in to town. Brunel built his tunnel through the hill which was completed in 1841. While his many men blasted their way through the hill they became aware of the vast quantities of good quality Bath Stone.
Soon after building the tunnel several local companies started to mine the stone commercially, these companies were Pictors, Nobles and Stones. The mines evolved in a haphazard manner and pass over the top of Box Tunnel. Many of the mines ran in to each other underground causing the huge labyrinth of tunnels we have left behind today.
The quarries were accessed through many different entrances, some of which still remain today. The main entrances in to the quarry were Eastgate, Northgate, Westgate, Bridgegate, Backdoor, Clift and what is now called Jack's Workings, named after a stone quarrier. All these entrances were adits, which means that they open in to the side of the hill or a cliff face.
Eastgate was once the biggest entrance but was blocked in 1906. Northgate, Westgate and Bridgegate were also blocked at about the same time. The easiest entrance into the mines nowadays is by Jack's workings. This is in the most southern region of the mines known as the Lower Hill Series. The entrance is found in the woods on Quarry Hill near the west portal of Box Tunnel. Another entrance still accessible is the Backdoor. This is found at the foot off a cliff face near the top of Love Lane. This entrance is somewhat more difficult than Jacks Workings but it does provide direct access into the central-region of the mines.
In the centre of the complex is an area known as the Cathedral, so called because of it's sheer size, it measures 190 feet long, 100 feet high and 25 feet wide at it's centre. In the roof of this chamber there is a large hole about six feet across. All the stone removed from this chamber was hauled through this hole to the surface between the years 1830 to 1850. The roof above the Cathedral is only fifteen feet thick and a row of cottages are partially sited on this.
From Box Quarry you can walk through in to the old MOD areas bordering Tunnel Quarry, this area of Box Quarry was used as an air in take to server the central ammunitions depot using the CDI (Corsham Depot Inlet) fan to draw air through the quarry in to the depots air conditioning system.
Box Quarry fact sheet - Find out more about the quarry and stone quarrying in general.
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