Travel: The Things I've Seen: Huckford Quarry

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The Independent Travel
WE FOLLOWED a steep path down into the valley of the river Frome. My assistant had not been to Huckford Quarry since 1932, and it had changed. The industry had gone; the quarry was full of trees. We stood in the gloom at the bottom of sheer red cliffs. He said: 'There used to be a tremendous pond here and great heaps of rubble all around.'

Now the trees had taken over the quarry. My assistant seized a sapling to examine it. 'Ash,' he announced grimly, letting it go again.

Pennant sandstone was once cut here for the construction of the London to Bristol railway. There were sidings above, where the stone was dressed before being taken away. In the last years of the quarrying, on 2 June 1918, one of the steam- operated cranes collapsed while bringing stone up, and the stoker was killed.

The stoker's name was William Evan Tuck. He was 13 years old, and it was his first week at work.

Now the quarry has been made into a nature reserve. The trees have reached the clifftops. Across a viaduct, high above the valley, thunder the InterCity trains.

Huckford Quarry is at Ordnance Survey Grid Reference ST656799.

(Photograph omitted)

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