The first quarry known to have quarried Quartzite for roadstone in the early 20th century was Cook’s Wood in Stoke St Michael. The quarry was established around 1900 by a local wheelwright, Seward Charles Gilson of Holcombe. Gilson began by working Vallis Limestone at the south end of the wood, laying a tramway to carry the stone down the valley to Bector Lane. Cook’s Wood first makes its appearance in the List of Quarries in 1905 as a limestone quarry, but in 1907 was described as producing both Carboniferous Limestone and Quartzite. The stone was transported by road, since there was no railway close to the site. Seward Gilson hauled his own stone and by 1904 was describing himself as a steam haulage contractor and stone merchant.
As early as 1925 the firm of S. C. Gilson & Co. was advertising its Quartzite from Cook’s Wood Quarry as making “a Non-Slippery Road as tarmacadam, for all gradients.” By then both Wainwright and the Emborough Stone Co. had abandoned their Quartzite quarries, leaving Gilson the only major producer by the early 1920s. The company erected a dedicated crushing plant at Cook’s Wood for its Quartzite workings, and when the narrow outcrop began to give out in the early 1930s it opened a new quarry further to the east in Hurdlestone Wood. In 1927 the company made an agreement with Great Western Railway for a private siding with loading dock at Mells Road Station (Wiltshire Record Office: 2515 210 Box 241/3). In 1938 Gilsons acquired Moligny Quarry, near Austell in Cornwall.
Cook’s Wood dispensed with its narrow gauge quarry railway in the mid-1950s. In 1958 Amey took over Gilsons and acquired Cook’s Wood Quarry. Amey’s were given permission in 1961 to extend Cook’s Wood Quarry to the south, but when it was found that the new workings would be above the Stoke Lane Slocker cave system, action was taken to prevent the company working in that area. As a result, permission was granted in 1965 for the company to open up a new face on the east side of Bector Lane.
In 1972 Amey was taken over by ARC which thereby acquired Cook’s Wood quarry. The quarry has been inactive since 1989, the company opting to concentrate production at Whatley Quarry.
NGR: 367000 - 147700
Lat : 51.2275285306
Long : -2.4739738701
- Vallis Limestone
- Burrington Oolite
- Clifton Down Limestone
- Oxwich Head