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Tout Quarry Sculpture Park

Portland, Dorset

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The above image is copyright Dorset County Council 2000 and is reproduced here with permission.

The abandoned Tout Quarry stands at the north-west corner of Tophill and is situated between the cliff edge and the road to Weston and Portland Bill.

It is now a sculpture park and is used to display an amazing collection of carvings and artefacts. 

This imaginative feature started in 1983 and some of the early sculptures are pictured below. Alas, very few of these early efforts survived more than a year

Although the sculpture park spreads over this square and the next one to the east, all the sculptures are grouped together here for convenience.

Please click here for a detailed map. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

Please click here to visit the satellite image of this area on Google Maps. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.

THE SOUTH-WEST COASTAL PATH AND WEST WEARES
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Old quarry spoil tipped over the cliff from Tout Quarry above Fortuneswell. (Tout is old English for a 'look out')

I estimate that over 20 million tonnes of rock have been pushed over the cliffs of Portland. This is five times as much rock as was moved to build the Portland Breakwaters which can just be glimpsed in the distance beyond Fortuneswell.

Another view of the man-made scree slopes. It is difficult to imagine how much toil by men and horses was used to create these huge slopes.

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The coast of Portland is eroding surprisingly fast for a slab of limestone that seems timeless. 

A huge length of cliff edge fell away in 1990 and tumbled down to add to the scree slopes created by Victorian quarry workers.

 

There is a path close to sea level under West Weares which has seriously been eroded over recent decades.

This picture shows how a tarmac section of this path became nearly vertical in 1990 as a result of a large landslip in the unstable scree slopes.

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Another view of the South-West Coastal path where it passes along the spectacular cliffs of West Weares.

There are no bridleways on Portland - so it is surprising that there are so many riding stables. However, this also means that cycling is not legal on the network of footpaths.

However, my best friend Sandra need hardly worry as cycling is tolerated and even encouraged as a healthy way of exploring Portland.

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68072530.jpg (40772 bytes) The South-West Coast Path and the scree slopes reaching down to the sea.

Notice the huge slippage of rock downwards from the cliff top path.

 

The South-West Coast Path above West Weares.

Please click here for a picture taken about a century ago from exactly the same vantage place.

 

Please click here for another old picture of this area.

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Another view of the South-West Coast Path and the scree slopes.

There are numerous narrow ravines leading from Tour Quarry to the cliff edge. Tramway lines used to run down these manmade valleys taking stone waste to the be dumped over the cliff or taking block stone to Priory Corner to be transported by the Merchants' Railway to the waiting ships at Castletown.

A piece of rail can still be seen crossing the cliff edge path heading for the cliff edge.

TOUT QUARRY

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General View of Tout Quarry

Please use the horizontal scroll bar on your browser to see the whole panorama when displayed at high resolution.

For more information about the sculpture park please click here.

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Copyright Chris Kirby

Lano's Bridge was built in the mid-1800s to carry a high level tramway taking spoil to the cliff edge with a low level tramway going through the arch taking stone to the Merchants' Railway.

In the late 1980s well equipped and determined vandals attempted to demolish this old bridge and almost reached the keystone.

Following an appeal for old photographs of the bridge, it was carefully reconstructed with each stone put back in its original place.

Then in October 2003 another attempt was made to damage the old bridge - this time by loosening stones to the north in the ravine.

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TOUT QUARRY SCULPTURE PARK

The above panoramic view of Tout Quarry appears the be just like any other abandoned Portland quarry. However, it contains dozens of sculptures which have been created since 1983.

The Egg

Made up of an egg shape covered in pieces of mirror, this was a spectacular sight high on the ramparts of the quarry in 1983

Two Statues

A metal sculpture of two lifelike human figures

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The Persian Garden

An elaborate design in stone and concrete pictured above left in 1989.

This still exists but is damaged as seen above right in March 2008.

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Geometrical Figure

Photographed in 1990, this structure is still intact - mainly, I suspect, because it is well hidden behind large boulders

 

 

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Two sculptures from 1989 which did not survive long into the 1990s.

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Two views of a sculpture. The pinnacle was originally topped by a stone 'egg' but this soon fell off and now lies at the foot of the rock pile. 

68072516.JPG (66284 bytes) At left - a dramatic view of Weymouth through an arch.
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The art of rock painting - from 1983.

An abstract sculpture stood on the hill but this has long since gone.

A stone helicopter set into a pile of quarry waste overlooking Fortuneswell pictured in 1990.

Enough remained in 2003 to be able to make out the outline of this aircraft.

Plans were put forward in 2008 to renew this feature.

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A ship - possibly a Viking ship - made from concrete and railway sleepers.

A superbly carved fireplace and seat and clock.

Unfortunately, some fools have lit fires in the grate and damaged this masterpiece.

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68072523.JPG (60985 bytes) A falling man.

A block of rock with a circular saw blade embedded in it - symbolic of Portland's stone cutting industry.

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An early carving that has survived to the present. Modern Art - 1983 style.
Stone carving lessons and courses are regularly run at Tout Quarry - please click here for details.
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