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Independent Quarries

Portland, Dorset


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All the pictures on this page showing a thick border are thumbnails. Clicking on the picture will produce a larger version. Use your browser BACK button to return to this page.

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

This area covers the huge area of the Independent Quarries. The white area to the south is a working quarry, the green area to the north is disused and overgrown quarries and the light brown area near the centre of the red square is a huge hole in the ground which was filled in with commercial waste.

In the lower left-hand part of the red square is a limekiln, a garage and a small area of industrial buildings.

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

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Please click here to see this area on Google Street View.


Opposite Portland Lodge in Inmosthay Quarry is one of three abandoned and wrecked hand-driven cranes. 

The other two cranes, which appear to be less complete can be found here and here.

A completely refurbished crane stands at Priory Corner - please click here.

This and the next two pictures were taken in between 2006 and 2010.


These cranes were once numerous around the island and lasted for many years before being replaced by steam and petrol powered cranes.




This huge hole was created in the 1980s north of the Portland F C football ground.

In the late 1980s planning permission was granted for it to be used for landfill with inert waste.

According to the satirical magazine Scallywag, waste rotting food was alleged to also have been dumped here from lorries arriving in the dead of night from outside Dorset - even as far away as the Midlands.  

It is impossible to say whether this was true or not but it is a fact that the filled quarry has been generating methane which has to be piped to the surface and dispersed - a very potent 'greenhouse gas' many times worse than carbon dioxide.

Posing in a rubbish tip whilst wearing my comedy false stomach - if only!

This is the huge quarry seen above after filling with waste.

The pipes are for collecting and dispersing methane generated by decaying rubbish.

In October 2002 a company was fined heavily for dumping rubbish in another  Portland quarry in contravention of planning restrictions.

And so it still goes on...


Adjacent to the infilled quarry on its southern side was a huge rock outcrop - Withies Wall. Apart from its highly significant geological importance *, on top of this wall was a Victorian security wall with old sentry posts - a wonderful relic from 19th century convict prison days. Unfortunately, in June 1993 the quarry owner smashed it down - without permission and without any regard for its scheduled status. 


At Left Above - Withies Wall in 1989 - a unique and accessible geological feature on Portland.

At Right Above -The feature partially destroyed in the mid-1990s. Part of the ancient prison wall can still be seen.

Above - Destruction complete! An important part of Portland's geological and cultural heritage turned into crushed aggregate! The remains of the prision wall can be see above right.

Councillor Margaret Leicester was among many Portlanders who were outraged by this vandalism and The Dorset Evening Echo carried a major feature in its issue of 29th June 1993.

Historian Stuart Morris described this destruction as "A tragic loss to the island's heritage."

However, such blatant disregard of the History of Portland - or indeed of Planning Law - has been typical of the behaviour of some of the quarry companies in destroying Portland's heritage over the centuries. The plan in the late 1980s to demolish one of Portland's medieval windmills to gain access to the stone beneath it was typical of the profit-driven mutilation of Portland by some of the commercial stone companies until tighter planning conditions were created and imposed in the 1990s.

In 1998 the company formally requested permission to remove further sections of rock face so one can only hope that commercial attitudes are changing - albeit slowly - away from profit-driven vandalism.

Please click here for a very comprehensive description of this vandalised geological feature.

A Victorian tramway rail sticks out from the quarry spoil in Kingsbarrow Quarry - a reminder of this areas industrial past.

A little to the east of the old limekiln are the remains of fossilized trees. 

To be more accurate, these rings are the fossilized algae that grew around the base of the trees and were turned to stone whilst the trees themselves rotted away.

For an excellent review of the geology of this area please click here.


A bridge photographed in July 1989. This was somewhere behind the garage in Easton Street in the area of buildings and small commercial yards and close to the present position of the Recycling Centre.  I searched for it several times over the next twenty years without any luck. Did it still exist? I assumed it had been destroyed by quarrying.

Tramways ran above and below it so that stone could be lowered onto the wagons that would take it to Priory Corner for dispatch to the main incline of the Merchants Railway down to Castletown.


However, in 2010 I found it again - very difficult to see and almost covered by rubble and weeds. For those with handheld GPS the latitude and longitude are 50.55344 North, 2.43432 West and it is at the centre of the image seen by clicking here.


In January 2010 a new swimming pool was opened in the area at the back of the garage in Easton Lane.

These pictures show it to be rather a cheap affair with no changing facilities or showers. However, it is waist deep in the winter (although it had dried out by June 2010)

The helpful sign (below right) guides pedestrians into the pool through the shallow end.

The location of this wonderful public facility is in the centre of the view seen by clicking here.



The Easton Street limekiln is its days of neglect, late 1989.

The kiln itself was open to the wind, rain and vandals whilst the northern associated building was derelict.

Another view of the disgraceful state into which the limekiln had been allowed to decay by the late 1980s.

The rusty metal roof offered no protection at all.

It was from this humble building that lime was sent to the Drury lane Theatre in London to provide its 'limelight'.


The grate and chimney breast of the old kiln as vandalised in 1989.

Coal and stone were piled into the chimney from above and burned. The coal burnt away leaving lime (Calcium Oxide) which could be used as fertilizer, for making mortar and for the limelight in theatres and large rooms.


The limekiln in 2002 - turned into a residence and craft workshop.


Opposite this site is another limekiln which is larger and more complete.

This lorry is a long way from a motorway!


On the site of this garage north of Easton was once a famous old pub - 'The Sawmill'.

Please click here for an old picture of the pub.


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