Ball clay quarries :: Shared Description

Ball clay is an ultra-fine clay of great value in the manufacture of tableware, sanitary ware, electrical insulators and tiles. Blended with coarser clays such as china clay it maintains the shape, strength and stability of unfired ceramic articles. After firing it is off-white or cream, therefore does not sully white and light-coloured glazes. The industry began in the 16th century with the manufacture of long-stemmed tobacco pipes, notably at Exeter. Other historic uses include the fine china known as cream ware, and as a component of Coade stone, a highly durable artificial stone for architectural decoration and statuary.

Originally dug as a cube from the floor of a clay pit, manhandling and transport knocked off the edges and corners resulting in a rough ball, hence the name ball clay; quarrying companies sometimes refer to it as plastic clay. Worldwide, deposits of ball clay are rare. The Bovey Basin in the floodplain of the River Teign north of Newton Abbot, Devon, is a major source. In Britain, less extensive deposits occur at Petrockstowe in North Devon and at Wareham in Dorset. In Devon, quarrying and disposal of waste are regulated by the County Council’s Minerals Local Plan, adopted in 2004. It looks forward to the year 2100 or such time as it is superseded by a Minerals and Waste Development Framework. The industry has had, and continues to have, a profound influence on the local economy, transport network and environment. As a result of amalgamations and takeovers only two companies currently control the extraction of clays in the Bovey Basin: Imerys (French) and Sibelco (Belgian).

The Bovey Basin is covered by the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer map no.110. It shows several largely featureless white spaces labelled Clay Pits. On the ground it comes as a shock to see the extent and depth of the open-cast quarries. Some so-called pits are in reality permanent-looking spoil heaps. Thus there are difficulties in establishing the names and locations of features in this landscape. Current and historic workings extend across some sixteen grid squares in the SX87 hectad. LinkExternal link LinkExternal link LinkExternal link LinkExternal link LinkExternal link
by Robin Stott
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34 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SX8476 : Track to Twinyeo Farm by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Frozen spoil, Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Track into Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Track into Newbridge ball clay quarry (2) by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Part of clay works, Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : North side of Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : South side of Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Track out of Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Track out of Newbridge ball clay quarry (2) by Robin Stott
SX8474 : Field by the River Teign east of Leygreen by Robin Stott
SX8475 : Lane to Brocks Farm (2) by Robin Stott
SX8475 : Waste heap southwest of Newbridge ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8376 : Track along base of clay waste heap by Robin Stott
SX8376 : Frozen ditch at the foot of a clay waste heap by Robin Stott
SX8377 : Chudleigh Knighton Heath west by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Bund screening Chudleigh Knighton ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Clay sheds, Clay Lane ball clay quarry by Robin Stott
SX8476 : New Bridge across the River Teign (2) by Robin Stott
SX8476 : Footpath between the River Teign and Southacre quarry by Robin Stott
SX8473 : Stover Quarry by Robin Stott
SX8473 : Stover Quarry and Stover Park by Robin Stott
SX8574 : Denistone Quarry, southwest extension by Robin Stott
SX8574 : View into Denistone Quarry, central void by Robin Stott
SX8574 : Denistone Quarry, northwest face by Robin Stott
SX8574 : Power lines southeast of Preston by Robin Stott

... and 9 more images.

These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Sat, 9 Jan 2010, Updated: Sat, 9 Jan 2010

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2010 Robin Stott, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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