Frequently Asked Questions

Quarry history

Quarry activity

Why extension is vital

Extension site

Economic benefits

Extraction works


Landscape and nature

If extension not allowed

Quarry history

How long has there been a quarry at Linhay Hill?

Small quarries have existed on the site since medieval times, supplying polished limestone as ‘Ashburton Marble’ to many churches and abbeys. Reference to the quarries can be found on 19th century Ordnance Survey maps.

The quarry at Ashburton was purchased by the brothers Ernest and Jack Glendinning in 1958 and since then has been progressively extended and modernised.

Quarry activity

What activities currently take place at the quarry?

There are:

  • A number of processing plants which crush and screen the limestone to make aggregates of different sizes.
  • Different manufacturing plants which coat the aggregate with bitumen or cement to make asphalt or concrete.
  • A plant which makes pre-cast concrete blocks and one which grinds the limestone to make agricultural lime.
  • A plant which washes the aggregate to make sands used in the concrete and block manufacturing processes.
  • Workshops providing engineering support, laboratories for technical quality control as well as offices and stores.

What is extracted from the quarry and what is the mineral used for?

The mineral extracted at Linhay Hill is limestone. This is a very versatile mineral used in many construction products, and also for making agricultural lime. Glendinning produces about 25% of all limestone sold in Devon each year.

Where do most of the quarry products get used?

Primarily within the major conurbations of Devon: Exeter, Teignbridge, Torbay and Plymouth.

Our products will form part of the construction of highways, pavements, buildings, houses and many civil engineering structures and developments.

Why extension is vital

Why do you want to extend Linhay Hill Quarry?

The shareholders and employees of Glendinning want to develop and sustain the business for future generations and local communities. This can be achieved if Linhay Hill Quarry can be extended.

From the end of 2020, the amount of remaining limestone within the existing planning boundary will last for about 5 years at current supply levels.

This means that after 5 years there will no longer be limestone construction products supplied from Linhay Hill Quarry and the business will have to be reduced in scale. As a consequence there would be a significant reduction in Glendinning jobs.

It would also mean the future supply of limestone aggregates for the area will only be available from one supplier, a global quarry company operating from abroad, which would compromise best value benefits from a competitive market.

What determines the life of a quarry?

There are a number of factors which effect the life of a quarry:

  • The volume of the mineral deposit within its planning permission boundaries;
  • The costs of working the mineral to produce saleable products – such as the treating or disposing of quarry spoil, the pumping of groundwater from quarry workings returning it to watercourses and the escalating cost of energy to process and transport products. These costs increase as the quarry deepens;
  • The levels of demand for the products within the local area and the competition presented by alternative suppliers;
  • There may be environmental restrictions which limit the development: geological, infrastructure as well as ecological;
  • The saleable value of the products is a critical factor as the cost of extraction and processing is high, both in terms of initial capital as well as ongoing maintenance.

How many more years will be added to the life of the quarry if planning consent is granted for it to be extended?

Based on geological survey data available to us we estimate the life of Linhay Hill Quarry would be extended by about 60 years more. This includes extracting the extra limestone in the base of the existing quarry, and then under the plant area.

What is the current size of Linhay Hill Quarry excluding the land for the proposed extension?

Linhay Hill Quarry and workshop area are about 105 acres in size. The surrounding bunding, including the tip to the north and the screen along the A38, cover an additional 72 acres.

Is the extension about generating more income and profit for Glendinning?

Absolutely not.

There is no plan to increase the annual output of the quarry however, so income and profit will remain at current levels for the duration of the extended life.

Extension of the quarry would sustain the ‘status quo’ for the business for longer and benefit future generations for many more years to come.

Extension site

Where is the location for the proposed quarry extension?

The extension site adjoins the north-eastern boundary of the quarry, bounded on its east by the A38.

What is the area of the land for the quarry extension?

The proposed extended quarry area is approximately 53 acres. This will be enclosed by landscaping banks, or bunds, and other areas for stripped 'overburden' which will add some 25 acres more. Further land will be used for associated landscape planting and ecological mitigation and for the replacement route to Ashburton via Waye Lane.

Where is the site for the proposed extension in relation to the town of Ashburton?

The proposed extension site is located to the north east of the existing Linhay Hill Quarry, so it is farther away from Ashburton.

What is the proposed extension site currently used for and who owns it?

The proposed site currently is part of a livestock farm with tenant farmers. This site is owned by Glendinning.

Would extension of the quarry require compulsory purchase of any privately owned buildings or land?


How close to residential properties would the extended quarry boundary be?

The closest property to the current Linhay Hill Quarry is owned by Glendinning and it will be a similar distance away from the proposed extended quarry area.

The closest residential property to the extension area is owned by Glendinning and will be about 35 m from Stage 3 of the extension and about 28 m from Stage 4 of the extension.

The extension will progressively move the quarry closer to properties to the north east at Caton over a 46 year period.

A landscaped earth mound or ‘bund’ will be created to separate and screen properties at Caton from the extended quarry. The closest Caton residential property will be approximately 220 metres from the extended quarry excavation area.

What will happen to the road which currently runs through the proposed land for the quarry extension?

We will apply to 'Stop-up' or close a section of the road at Alston that runs along the north-eastern boundary of Linhay Hill Quarry.

In its place we will construct a new road as an alternative route. Having considered the options available and consulted with neighbours and statutory consultees, the replacement route will join Alston Lane with Balland Lane near the school, passing to the south of dwellings at Waye before joining the track and public footpath, commonly referred to as Waye Lane. A new access will also be provided to Alston Farm and Alston Cottage, and to Lower Waye.

Where will the extended quarry drain?

Surface water runoff will be managed to flow around the quarry and bund footprints, and will evaporate, infiltrate to ground or discharge under the A38 near Alston Cross as at present. Groundwater inflow is localised and seasonal in the limestone, and where encountered will drain into the quarry. The main groundwater inflow at present is the quarry’s north east face and that inflow will continue to be intercepted as the quarry extends in that direction.

What will happen to water in the extended quarry?

Production and recycling uses of water will continue the same as at present, but the overall amount used is very small. Excess water will continue to be discharged to the Balland Stream at a rate authorised and controlled under an environmental permit issued by the Environment Agency. The extended quarry with associated Waye Lane drainage will provide increased attenuation storage and flood risk mitigation for Ashburton from the upstream catchment of the Balland Stream.

Will there be increased flood risk to Ashburton?

No. Drainage attenuation basins will be created in the upper catchment of the Balland Stream along the new Waye Lane. Overall the extended quarry with associated Waye Lane drainage will provide increased attenuation storage and flood risk mitigation for Ashburton from the upstream catchment of the Balland Stream.

What will happen when the quarry extension is finished?

When dewatering stops the quarry void will slowly fill with rainwater falling directly on to the void, surface water runoff and groundwater, to become a lake. The lake water will overflow from the quarry to the Balland Stream at the same level as at present with the pumped discharge. A flow control structure will be installed to restrict the peak rate of discharge and thereby ensure reduced flood risk to Ashburton from the catchment which drains to the lake in perpetuity.

Economic benefits

How does Linhay Hill Quarry contribute to the economy in Ashburton, Devon and the South West?

Glendinning's products and services support the construction and maintenance of Devon's and Cornwall's infrastructure – roads and highways, agriculture, house building, construction of buildings, such as schools and hospitals, as well as private construction for business and science parks. In turn the projects support food production, tourism, and the everyday lives of citizens.

In Devon and Cornwall there is a high likelihood that the road you drive, the house you live in or the place where you work involves materials which came from Linhay Hill Quarry.

The effect of Glendinning's buying in goods and services locally to support its operations adds £6 million a year to the local economy.

The annual wage bill for our employees who live and spend the money locally is £8 million.

The importance of this activity is demonstrated by Glendinning’s annual turnover being about 5.6% of the annual turnover of all businesses in the Dartmoor National Park.

The contribution to the local economy for the duration of the quarry extension will be £360 million.

Without the quarry extension Linhay Hill Quarry will no longer make any contribution to the local economy after its existing reserves are exhausted.

What are the benefits of having locally sourced quarry products for construction?

There are significant logistical benefits regarding ease of access, especially as we are located adjacent the A38, speed of response, less road miles and therefore smaller carbon footprint.

Extraction works

In the event of planning permission being granted for the quarry extension, when would extraction work happen on site?

Nothing would happen immediately regarding extraction activity. Extension of the quarry and extraction works will take place sequentially over many years, together with ongoing ecological mitigation and landscape planting in each sequence.

The first stage of works will comprise construction of a new road between Waye and Place to replace the length of Alston Lane that needs to be removed to allow the extension.

We would then commence stripping the overburden which is the soil on top of the limestone. This will be used to create landscaping mounds (called bunds) to screen off quarry activity in the extended area in the future.

Once extraction is completed the whole site will be restored.

Will extension of the quarry increase noise levels from activity on the site?

The quarry has conditions attached to its planning permission one of which defines and limits the amount of noise generated by all of its activities. There are also a number of Environmental Permits which regulate activities, such as crushing and screening aggregates, and these also control noise levels.

Measurements have been made of existing background noise levels, both around the existing quarry and around the extension area. Noise levels along the A38 are higher because of passing traffic. Calculations have been made of anticipated noise levels due to the extension proposals.

During the quarry expansion the noisiest periods will be:

  • during construction of the upgrade to the Waye Lane route, and
  • during construction of the overburden bunds in Stages 1 and 2.

It is envisaged that the construction of the upgrade to the Waye Lane route will take about one year, with work progressing from the south to the north, so construction work could be audible by nearby residents for about 3 to 4 months.

Stripping of overburden and construction of the bunds in Stages 1 and 2 will take place in a series of 'campaigns' in years 2, 10, 13, and 16, from the start of operations. Each campaign will last about 4 months to condense activity thereby optimising plant and management time.

In stages 3 and 4 the overburden will be backfilled into the base of the existing quarry, so no further overburden bunds will be built. This will reduce the noise associated with Stages 3 and 4.

Noise from ongoing quarrying in the existing quarry and in the extension is not expected to be above current levels.

What about noise from existing quarry?

The main processing plant will remain in its current location at the furthest end of the quarry from the extension area.

There is mobile plant in operation and controlled blasting at the quarry face at Linhay Hill Quarry.

Sound levels from the mobile plant is managed as part of overall site noise emissions within our planning conditions for the quarry.

Sound and vibration from controlled blasting is monitored as part of the requirement of the planning condition for the quarry and the acceptable limits have never been exceeded.


Will extension of the quarry increase lorry movements to and from the site?

No, there is no intention to increase the annual output of the quarry above its current level. The extension is not about increasing profit or income for Glendinning. We want to maintain the status quo for more years to come.

Landscape and nature

Will the extended quarry be moving further into the designated Dartmoor National Park area?

Broadly speaking the width of the proposed quarry extension (the distance into the Dartmoor National Park from its boundary with the A38 Devon Expressway) will be no greater than the current Linhay Hill Quarry.

The length of the quarry running parallel alongside the A38 Devon Expressway, which forms the boundary of the National Park, will increase.

So overall the area of the extended quarry and overburden bunds will increase during stages 1 and 2 of the extension. In stages 3 and 4 the quarry extension will increase within the area already enclosed by bunding and other landscape planting. After this all quarrying will be deepening within the same footprint. It should be noted that the quarry and the proposed site for extension are not within protected open moorland.

What do you plan to do to identify and manage the impact of an extension of the quarry on wildlife?

As part of the planning application we have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement which includes an assessment of ecology habitat and protected species surveys.

These surveys were evaluated by an external qualified and chartered ecologist using methodologies approved by Dartmoor National Park.

The survey findings have helped us to plan protective mitigation measures as part of the quarry preparatory and extension works. For example the time of year for works to take place to avoid the breeding and nesting season for birds.

Alternative habitats can be created as part of the proposals, and species relocated under specific licences and supervision. This means that the needs and interests of the wildlife can be accommodated.

During preparation of the planning application, we consulted with the Dartmoor National Park Authority and statutory regulators, such as Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Further details are available on the Natural environment page of this website and in the Environmental Statement and its Non-Technical Summary and other submissions on the Planning Documents page.

If extension not allowed

If planning permission to extend the quarry is not granted what will it mean for jobs – how many jobs and what type of jobs are they?

As the existing reserves at the quarry are worked out there will be a gradual loss of jobs as the Linhay Hill quarry output reduces. This is because there will be insufficient work to employ the current workforce of 240 people.

Towards the end of the 5 year period of economic reserve remaining, there will be insufficient income generated by sales to sustain employment, and production will switch from employees on the Glendinning payroll to contract staff.

A small administrative team supervising contractors involved in restoration of the existing quarry will be required but eventually all 240 Glendinning employees will have to be made redundant. The majority of these posts are full time and permanent jobs.

Glendinning, as a privately owned manufacturer, is a net creator of revenue for Devon with a high productivity per employee, paying higher than average salaries for the region – all of this will be lost.

If Linhay Hill Quarry cannot be extended what will happen to the existing quarry beyond 20 years?

A detailed restoration plan has not yet been agreed and if permission is not granted to extend Linhay Hill Quarry then a plan would need to be submitted and agreed.

The formulation of a plan would require consultation with Dartmoor National Park Authority and community stakeholders. Example uses of the quarry site are for amenity, by creating habitats and allowing flooding (many Sites of Scientific Interest are restored quarries); perhaps part could become a reservoir and part be used for employment development. 

Are there other quarry sources for limestone aggregates in Devon?

The only other quarry sources in Devon for limestone aggregates are controlled by a single global aggregate supplier based outside of the European Union.

Such a monopoly of supply would be anti-competitive in terms of providing best value and there is a real possibility that the annual demand for Devon may not be met by resources from within the county in the future.

Therefore more quarry products will need to be ‘imported’ from neighbouring counties increasing road mileage and the carbon footprint.