How to get there:
Nearest railway station:
Old quarry floor is accessible, smooth-ish path. many exposures are inaccessible due to dangerous paths/steps.
The working quarry can be seen from a stony path and a bridge over quarry workings.
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Text and photographs: Naomi Stevenson
Page updated March 2013
The village of Ketton, in Rutland, is dominated by a huge cement works. Close to the works are the two quarries within Ketton Quarries SSSI; the small former quarry is accessed from Pit Lane and the newer, massive, working quarry can be seen from the path alongside it and the footbridge crossing it; the path is at Home Farm in the village’s main street.
Three formations are visible in the quarries:
The lowest is the oolitic Lincolnshire Limestone which was laid down in the middle Jurassic about 160 million years ago. This large, blocky, rock was formed from small grains of calcium carbonate which were deposited under a warm, shallow sub-tropical sea which was subject to reasonably strong currents. These coated grains look like eggs when magnified – hence the term “oolitic” (egg-like).
Above the Lincolnshire Limestone is the Rutland Formation – bands of delta and shoreline muds and sands carried by rivers. Each band, with shelly remains at its base and tree roots at the top, was formed when sea-level rise topped the layer below. Many colours can be seen in fresh exposures of this formation. The exposures at the working quarry (Ketton Main Quarry) are the type formation for the Rutland Formation.
Above the Rutland Formation is the Blisworth limestone, laid down under quiet, shallow, warm conditions during a marine transgression. The Blisworth limestone is full of fossil corals and shells.
As you enter the old quarry, in front of you is a face with exposures of the Lincolnshire and Blisworth Limestones, but where the Rutland Formation is obscured. At the top of the concrete steps here a bed of the Blisworth Limestone can be seen at close quarters. Please note that the steps are tilted both forwards and sideways and that care needs to be taken here.
A second face of the old quarry is visible (roughly 100 m away) to the right as you enter the quarry but it is in dangerous condition with slumped and fallen rock and there is no access to it.
Ketton Main Quarry can be viewed from the path leading northwards from Home Farm (near Bull Lane) – excellent fresh exposures of all three Formations can be seen from the path and, at reasonably close quarters, from the bridge which crosses the quarry at one point.
Click to enlarge