Box Quarry

© 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

Full access

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 38 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.


More information


Further reading



Related venues

  • Box Tunnel

    A two mile long tunnel, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel through Box Hill. Next to the eastern entrance of the tunnel you can see the remains of a branch from the main London to Bristol railway line which lead into the hillside into the Corsham Ammunitions Depot and terminated at a half-mile long underground railway station which was used during World War II.
  • Tunnel Quarry

    Tunnel Quarry was one of the four sub-depots of the Central Ammunitions Depot, parts of the converted Bath stone quarry are still security classified sites today. The quarry connects to the northern edge of Spring Quarry and also had a link to the GWR main line at the eastern portal of Brunel's Box Tunnel.

Box Tunnel
Corsham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom


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joebrooklyn   Yup. No problem. Just bring a hard hat or helmet and some knee pads. Keep an eye out for that hole near the cathedral like I pointed out in the video and it's a sneaky one.
March 2016
Ben118   ohh I see that makes much more sense now, you mean like the pliers on a leatherman multitool?Thanks very much for explaining
March 2016
joebrooklyn   So you have a 17mm hole on the end of a screw that holds the gate shut. I just put the pliers on it and twisted the big screw out so you can open the gate. So turn it left. Takes some time as it is long. So pliers on it, (one bit of the pliers inside and one outside and turn left.).
March 2016
Ben118   I really liked your video, still don't really understand the lock thing though, what kind of multitool is it?
March 2016
joebrooklyn   Just my multi tool. No picking or breaking its just a long screw with a 17mm Allen end so just turning it.
March 2016
Ben118   what kind of pliers did you take and do you have to actually break the lock or just pick it?
March 2016
joebrooklyn   I did it with pliers so have it as a plan B. Before the cathedral coming in from the back door there is a hole like 15 ft deep. Watch out for it as it you are staring at the cathedral it's easy to fall in. Bring a helmet and knee pads. See it in my video here
March 2016
Ben118   Oh thats great if a 7mm allen key will work I will check it out very soon, thanks for letting me know

March 2016
joebrooklyn   went here on 05/03/16. the pub no longer has a key as 2 people got lost in the quarry and then tried to sue the pub so they stopped supplying it. you can still get in with a pair of pliers or a 17mm allen key. we went to the cathedral and back. took about 45 min with looking around. the pub still sells a map for £6 each. they were kids down there smoking weed and a tour of grumpy miners. bring a hard... [Read more]
March 2016
joebrooklyn   anyone have a map?
October 2015
August 2015
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