Eardington quarry produced high quality concrete, sand and gravel products between 1939 and 1994. The site produced 6,10,20 and 40 mm gravels for various processes but the main product was 5/20mm gravel for use in the production of concrete. Above aerial view taken during the ’70s. Top left, water storage pools. Right and centre, quarry plant equipment. Bottom centre, entrance to the quarry. The Bridgnorth to Highley road runs diagonally from bottom centre.
It was opened in 1939 to supply materials to RAF Stafford, Cosford, Bobbington and Ditton Priors.
The first processing plant was installed around 1955 and was powered by a cylinder Tangy oil engine, which was later sold to India.The bypass bridge, part of the M54 and dams at Rhyadar were all built with concrete from Eardington quarry.
The quarry is situated on the edge of a glacial flow. Pines only found in Scotland were collected, they could only have been part of the glacial flow. A number of fossils, coral and a woolly mammoth tusk have also been found.
Description of Process
Its hard to imagine looking at the site now the type of processes that were carried out. This is a detailed description of the process. Raw material called asdug or ballast was transported to the processing plant from various deposits mined around the Bridgnorth area and tipped into the feed hopper. This was then fed via a speed controlled conveyor belt into a rubber lined washing barrel. The washing barrel separated the heavier rock and gravel from the sand and silt particles. The rock and gravel then passed through a pair of initial trommel screens to roughly separate the various sizes of gravel. Everything above 22mm was retained on the inner trommel and fed into a swing hammer crusher. Material from the outer trommel, together with that exiting the crusher would be fed on to a secondary conveyor belt to two vibrating screens fitted with hard wearing plastic tiles. These tiles had increasingly larger apertures to separate the various gravel sizes. Whilst the material was going over the screens it was again washed high pressure jets of water. The graded gravel is then ready to be transported to the stockpiles.
Any material suspended in water from the screening process together with the sand and silt washed out from the washing barrel, were fed into a Linatex Sand Separator via a 5 inch pump. This separator worked on a vortex principle, the heavier sand dropped through a rubber valve known as a frog’s foot (from its shape). The sand was then sent to the concrete sand stockpiles via a tower system. The dirty water containing silt from the sand separator was pumped to a Linatex Surpac system. This machine used a flocculent (resembling wallpaper paste) to assist in separating out the silt from the water. Cleaned water went back to the water storage ponds and the silt waste went to the settling lagoons.
Birds and Wildlife always Present
Even back then with all of this industrial activity taking place, wildlife was always present at the quarry. Jim Whitney who was the quarry manager has shared the following information about the wildlife on the site:
‘Birds regularly nested on the processing plant. Pigeons reared their young on a shelf 3 feet above the crusher in all that noise. Blue tits had a nest in the vibrating screen box section support framework, going in and out of a small gap. A pair of wagtails built a nest in the chassis of a dumbstruck under the cab. The birds would happily fly around following the dump truck as it worked, flying in and out to feed their young. Swallows also built a nest year after year under the concrete loading bay. They flew in and out feeding even with a mixer being loaded. This was very loud with the mixer spinning. They also had to fly through a curtain of fine water mist designed to stop cement dust escaping in to the atmosphere. Truly remarkable’.
The site closed in 1994. On 21st May 2013 SC acquired a 99 year lease from Larfarge with the help of the Parish Council. The Friends group was then formed in November 2013 to help Shropshire Council develop the site and give the local community an input in to the development of the site.