Mountsorrel Quarry is a granite quarry, locally and nationally renowned for its distinctive pink rock, which is in high demand for some of the country’s biggest construction projects.
Located at the heart of the UK near Loughborough in Leicestershire, the quarry is ideally positioned to send large volumes of stone for construction projects that help to keep the UK thriving.
Mountsorrel Quarry lies between the villages of Mountsorrel and Quorn in Leicestershire, at the heart of the county’s granite quarrying heritage.
Located in the East Midlands, Mountsorrel Quarry supplies the construction industry with large volumes of essential materials, which are used for construction projects across the region and throughout the UK
Our rail distribution network is the largest in Leicestershire, which means we can transport our rock efficiently and sustainably. Crucially, we are able to send materials to construction projects based in the busy southern regions of England that have no hard rock reserves of their own.
Our rail distribution network is the largest in Leicestershire, which allows us to transport our rock efficiently and sustainably.
Crucially we are able to send materials to construction projects based in the busy southern regions of England, which have no hard rock reserves of their own.
The rest of the materials we transport from the quarry are delivered by road to serve local demand. In 1990 we built Granite Way – a dedicated road that enables traffic from the quarry to get onto the major highway network without passing through the villages.
We have contributed to some of the biggest construction projects throughout the UK. Read more about the impact of our work in the ‘Landmark projects’ section below.
We employ over 100 members of staff in a variety of roles, including on-the-ground operational jobs and office-based jobs. From excavating and processing the rock blasted from the quarry to managing our commercial relationships with suppliers, there is a wealth of opportunity available across the business.Many members of our team have a personal connection with Mountsorrel Quarry by following decades of family tradition to pursue a career in quarrying. Today, we are pleased to have different generations of family members working together and some who can trace their family connections back through three or four generations.
At Mountsorrel, we produce and supply our distinctive pink granite for building major infrastructure projects in the East Midlands region and throughout the UK.
Locally, our stone has been used in the asphalt used to carry out essential highways upgrades, including the construction and resurfacing of the A46 trunk road, the widening of the A453 from the M1 into Nottingham. It has also been used for the extension of the Nottingham tramway.
The distinctive appearance of our pink granite continues to be used in repairing existing buildings in the local villages that surround the quarry to maintain the region’s recognisable architecture.
A national supplier
Nationally, we have contributed to large-scale construction projects in the transport sector.
Our granite was used in the original construction of the M25 and has since been relied upon for runway resurfacing and widening projects, including major schemes at Heathrow and Luton.
We are also a long-term supplier to Network Rail, sending them rail ballast to help maintain around 20,000 miles of railway track across England, Wales and Scotland.
Rail ballast is the stone you can see in between and underneath the railway tracks that helps to keep the steel rails in place as trains pass over them. The ballast is made using the rock we extract from the quarry, which is crushed and sized to the required measurements. We then transport the stone from our railhead at Barrow-upon-Soar to Network Rail depots up and down the country.
Our supply of rail ballast equates to around 70 per cent of Network Rail’s total demand.
Read more about the geology of our stone here.
Our local team is passionate about the work we do.
We are proud to lead a locally-driven business that is well-respected and active in the communities we serve.
Leading each operation is a highly experienced and dedicated management team, many of whom have spent much of their careers at the quarry.
Trevor Warren - Works Manager
Chris Pink - Area Commercial Manager
Mick Stevens - Estates Manager
Shane Tompkin - Quarry Operations and Development Manager
Simon Edwards - Quarry Manager
Jamie Skipper - Railhead Manager
Jason Fairbrother - Asphalt Plant Manager
Don Wyatt - Maintenance Manager
Granite quarrying has been at the heart of communities in Charnwood for at least 250 years and has been carried out in many different ways since Roman times. The first known site in Mountsorrel was located at the present-day Castle Hill area in the village.
18th Century beginnings
It was not until the second half of the 18th century, however, that quarrying began in earnest, meeting new demand for building materials during a construction and road-building boom. The advent of the turnpike road system meant granite was in high demand to make cobblestone setts, kerbs and chippings. In 1758 the quarries at Mountsorrel won a contract from the Harborough to Loughborough Turnpike to surface all the roads in the area.
At the heart of the Industrial Revolution
Initially stone was transported by horse and cart but in 1794 the cutting of the Grand Union Canal allowed carriage by barge. In the 1800s quarrying continued to flourish. The Mountsorrel Granite Company, run by the local Martin family, was formed in 1854 and operated four sites – Broad Hill, Hawcliffe Hill, Nunckley Hill and Cocklow Wood.
Mountsorrel’s distinctive, pink granite was in great demand – so much so that it became clear a more efficient form of transport was necessary. Following an act of Parliament in 1858 to build an extension to the Midland Counties Railway, Broad Hill Quarry became the first industrial operation to have its own branch line and sidings at Barrow-upon-Soar. The famous 1860 bridge was constructed to carry the line over the River Soar. A further branch line was opened in 1896 linking to the Great Central line. Three distribution channels were now available: road, rail and canal, helping the company widen its market and significantly boost business.
The industry flourished and by the early 20th century around 600 workers were employed at the four sites producing setts, blocks and chippings. The 1920s brought increased demand for bulk aggregates and with it, greater mechanisation and productivity. By the mid-1930s new methods for road building were being used, heralding the end of granite sett production by around 1936. Kerb production ceased in 1940.
A new era for quarrying
In the 1960s Redland Roadstone bought the Mountsorrel Granite Company hailing a new era of development and investment. Broad Hill quarry ceased production in 1967 with operations then concentrated on the Cocklow Wood area adjoining Wood Lane (the location of the present primary stone surge pile). Then in the early 1970s larger scale quarrying began in a new area of Buddon Wood – the site of today’s Mountsorrel Quarry. This major development included the installation of one of the world’s largest rock crushers.
As demand for construction materials rose throughout the 1970s and 80s, Mountsorrel’s production increased and became the largest granite production site in Europe at that time.
At the turn of the millennium
In the late 1990s, French-owned Lafarge acquired Redland PLC. Around the same time, Anglo-American – one of the world’s largest mining and natural resource businesses – procured leading aggregates and building materials company Tarmac Group UK.
In 2013, Lafarge Tarmac was established – a 50:50 joint venture between Lafarge and Anglo-American’s Tarmac Group subsidiary. Lafarge Tarmac managed the quarry until 2015 when CRH plc, the international leader in building materials, acquired the company and launched Tarmac as it is today.
Now the UK’s leading sustainable building products and construction solutions business, Tarmac combines the knowledge and expertise of two of the construction industry’s most iconic brands: Tarmac, the pioneers of the modern road and Blue Circle, the company that patented Portland Cement.
Our innovative products and solutions not only safely deliver the infrastructure needed to grow the UK economy today but also help to create a more sustainable built environment for the country’s long-term future. We have contributed to some of the UK’s biggest construction projects, including The Sainsbury Laboratory, Wembley Stadium, Heathrow Terminal 5, Blackpool Sea Defences, The Shard and London 2012.
The company has over 150 years of experience and directly employs around 8,000 people across a nationwide network of over 400 sites. Our solutions span aggregates, asphalt, cement, lime, readymix concrete, offsite manufacture, road contracting, highways maintenance and infrastructure services, building products and recycling services. This unique combination of people, technology and assets enables us to offer customers unrivalled choice, innovation and flexibility.
Looking to the future
Following the submission of a planning application in 2015, we achieved planning consent to extend the north-east area of Mountsorrel quarry. This has allowed us to progress plans to relocate the primary crusher – the machinery that processes the large rocks excavated from the quarry into smaller pieces.
The existing equipment, originally installed in the 1970s, will be demolished and replaced with a semi-mobile primary crusher that will be located in the extended section of the quarry. This will shorten our haul distance between the blasting and crushing areas, which in turn will reduce the impacts of dust and noise for the benefit of residents living nearby. We anticipate that this project will be completed by 2020.
Once the works are finished, the site of the former crusher will become an information area for members of the community and visitors to the area to come along and learn more about how the quarry works and what we produce.
In 2015 we purchased Quorn House and the surrounding 120 acres of parkland, which sits adjacent to the north of the quarry. We have since established an office in the building, which houses around 35 Tarmac employees.