Quarry and Diggers

Access to the quarry and diggers is by a meandering path.

Walk back in time to explore the way in which iron ore was extracted in Rutland and the East Midlands from Victorian times. Starting in the shadow of the old United Steel Company’s tipping dock, follow the path past the narrow gauge railway items and quarry office to the “Digger Playpen”. Here old machines are put through their paces and operated for visitors on quarry days.

YE-1382 shunter and ore tippler wagons at quarry entrance.

Yorkshire Engine Company shunter 1382 with iron ore wagons in the quarry.

The viewing area looks down into an old quarry area where the distinctive local limestone geology would have been stripped away to reveal the ironstone ore beds. Over the years this has slowly returned to nature and is no longer clearly visible.

Ruston face shovel and quarry wagons.

Ruston Bucyrus RB22 face shovel demonstrating iron ore loading into wagons.

Our trail includes imposing relics from the industry including the driving cab from W1400 “Sundew”, a huge dragline machine specifically built for the local Exton Park quarries in the 1950’s and named after the Grand National winner from 1957. “Sundew” achieved fame when, following quarry closure, it “walked” the 13 miles from Exton to Corby in 1974 to carry on digging. The event was covered by the BBC Blue Peter programme and John Noakes actually drove the machine a few feet!

Visitors can sit in the cab of a dragline machine to get a driver’s eye view of the old working environment.

Ruston dragline excavator.

Ruston Bucyrus RB22 dragline excavator working in the quarry.