Stoke lane and Cooks Wood Quarries ST669479
These two disused quarries are situated on the northern flank of the Beacon Hill Pericline, from Stoke St Michael towards Oakhill. They lie on the narrow plateau of steeply dipping Carboniferous limestone rocks sandwiched between the higher ground, formed by Devonian and Silurian rocks to the south, and the younger Coal fields in the Nettlebridge valley. This limestone outcrop is pockmarked by several disused quarries and hosts several quite extensive cave systems, especially at Fairy Cave Quarry.
The Vallis Limestone is exposed in the privately owned Stoke Lane Quarry near Stoke St Michael. Further down the valley is Cooks Wood Quarry, where outstanding examples through the upper part of the Carboniferous ‘Clifton Down Limestone’ and the overlying ‘Oxwich Head Limestone’ can be seen. It consists of a series of sandy limestones with thin beds of soft mudstone and some coal that form prominent recesses in the cliff face.
Cook’s Wood was in active use till 1989 and now has planning permission to be developed as a holiday park. It is a SSSI and 9 species of bats, 4 species of newts, including the rare Great Crested Newt and dormice have been recorded.
Historical Notes: British geological Survey, English Nature 2010 SSSI Citation Sheet.