|Date||10 December 2011|
|Location||Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury||SJ 49708 09745; 52.68303°N, 2.74537°W|
Bayston Hill Quarry, on the southern outskirts of Shrewsbury, is a roadstone quarry owned by Tarmac Ltd and is one of the UK’s largest producers of high-quality aggregates. The rough surface of the gritstone extracted there provides it with a high Polished Stone Value (a measure of its resistance to polishing), making the crushed rock an ideal ingredient in the manufacture of high-grip road-surfacing products. Aggregate from the quarry was used in the surfacing of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s Yas Marina circuit, which opened in 2009.
The quarry is 75 m deep, 1.1 km long and covers an area of 30 hectares. Extensive landscaping of the periphery of the site has been undertaken, using clay overburden to form screening mounds along the north-west edge of the quarry.
The workings feature in maps as early as 1752, but it is a recent discovery at the quarry from long before that which has forced archaeologists to re-evaluate the engineering accomplishments of pre-Roman Iron-Age Britons. The route of a ‘Roman’ road here was already known and in 2009 quarry operations were about to destroy a 400 m stretch of its path. This gave archaeologists a chance to study an excavated section. The cambered road was six metres wide, built on a hardcore and clay foundation, and cobbled with stones from the River Severn. It has been dated to the first century BC, pre-dating the Roman invasion by about 100 years.