Coldstones Quarry, situated on Greenhow Hill at 1400 feet above sea level, is one of the highest quarries in Britain. Several small limestone quarries operated around Greenhow over the last two centuries and in the early 1900s the surrounding hills were dominated by stone quarries. Gradually these closed until Coldstones became the last working quarry in the area. Operated by Hanson, a member of the Heidelberg Cement Group, it provides aggregates and asphalt for major construction projects across the U.K.
The quarry currently covers an area of about 30 hectares. It is worked on 6 benches, 15-18m high, to a depth of 300m O.D. at the base of the quarry. Coldstones provides an average of 700,000 tons of aggregate each year, and supplies building materials into West and North Yorkshire. From the Coldstones Cut you can see the quarrying operations, including the blasting, extraction and crushing of rock. You can also see the geological strata which make up the quarry and which provide the raw material for its products. The quarry has an estimated life of 15-20 years, and after that time it is anticipated that it will be allowed to green over and return to nature.
Coldstones Quarry has achieved both a 5 Star Environmental Award from the Quarry Products Association and the Harrogate Borough Council Special Award for Environmental Excellence, in recognition of educational work with local schools and its active support of the local heritage.