SP2199 : Bucketway stanchion base (1)

taken 10 years ago, near to Dosthill, Staffordshire, Great Britain

Bucketway stanchion base (1)
Bucketway stanchion base (1)
When we first explored the "Round Hills" as children, these massive concrete blocks seen here and SP2099 : Bucketway stanchion base (2) - The Magic Chair were quite a mystery to us. Then my mother remembered that there used to be an aerial bucketway that carried the stone from the quarry here right across the other side of the Dosthill - Kingsbury road to a factory on the other side, where it was processed. My mum remembers this bucketway working into the 1930s but thinks it had finished before the War in 1939. These concrete blocks, rather like giant's shoes are on high ground above the SP2199 : Gully adjoining Dosthill Quarry that runs down to SP2199 : Dosthill Quarry. Back in the 60s & 70s this part of the Round Hills was not as easily accessible as it is now, in contrast to most of the area which has become far more difficult to explore as it has reverted to a much wilder state. There are various other remnants of the former industry here, but most now are covered in impenetrable briars.
The Roundhills and Dosthill Quarry
Grid squares SP2099 and SP2199
No maps that I can find show this area to the west of the village of Dosthill as being called "The Roundhills" (or "The Round Hills" as it was never actually spelt out, only said), but that is what it was known as by everyone in the village when I was a lad in the Sixties, and by my mother who had lived in the area for forty years before that.
In the 60s and early 70s the area was mostly undulating grassy and scrubby land with occasional rose bushes and other vegetation. The hills slope down towards the River Tame, and the land flattened out and often flooded in the Autumn. Occasionally these flooded areas would then freeze creating impromptu skating rinks. The highest point of the Roundhills is Dost Hill (104m, 341') from which the village gets its name. This hill, which is made of geologically unusual rock for the area (Ordovician/Cambrian mudstone with Ordovician Lamprophyres intrusions), had been extensively quarried forming a cliff on one side. Between this hill and the church a much deeper pit was quarried to a depth of about 80'. When quarrying work finished this pit quickly filled with water and became the diving lake that is still there today, known as Dosthill Quarry - or locally simply as The Quarry. It is a very popular dive site with enthusiasts and was the first of the National Inland Dive Sites. It has been operating since 1958 and is apparently popularly known as "Dozzi" by divers.
The rock that was quarried here was loaded into buckets on an aerial bucketway which carried the stone from here to a processing plant right across the other side of the Dosthill to Kingsbury road. My mother recollected that this was still operating into the 1930s.
Remains of this former industry still dot the landscape, most conspicuously the massive concrete remains of the bases of the bucketway stanchions.
Across the Roundhills paths led in various directions, but one could also freely roam almost anywhere. Later into the 80s, gravel was extracted from the fields near to the river. Once this opencast extraction had finished the depressions quickly filled with water forming an extensive series of lakes that now attract much wildlife.
By the time I visited again in the new millennium the area had changed considerably. Many of the former paths were now overgrown with impenetrable briars, while other places that had formerly been inaccessible could now be reached. Formerly cows had roamed the slopes of the hills here keeping much of the vegetation in check, and horses were paddocked in part of it too. None of these animals are in evidence now, which is probably one of the main reasons that it has become so overgrown.
The views, in particular to the west, from the higher slopes of the hills are still splendid, and the new lakes by the river have added to the interest of this unique area, but as I say, it is now generally more difficult to roam about here than it was 50 years ago.
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Grid Square
SP2199, 53 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Sunday, 7 December, 2008   (more nearby)
Submitted
Monday, 15 December, 2008
Category
Industrial site (derelict)   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2107 9977 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:35.7192N 1:41.4229W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 2107 9977
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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