This village had a number of quarries - some large, like the two off Hill Top Lane, others just small ones worked by either one or two people.
In their heyday up to 500 people worked in the quarries - just imagine the noise from all those hammers and chisels! Then, every so often, blasting took place to bring the rock down, so that it could be worked. The masons cut stone for all sorts of reasons - even the sinks in back kitchens were made of stone.
One of the top jobs a mason could do was to make the millstones which were cut in the Whittle quarries because the stone was ideal for that purpose.They were put on canal barges at the basin, opposite the Duke of York public house and delivered to Liverpool Docks. And from there they were shipped all over the World.
The old saying, show us your metal, came from the masons who cut the grooves in the millstones, (this was called cracking) because often the really experienced masons had pieces of metal embedded in the skin on their hands.
One good thing about the local stone quarries was that the masons working with it on a daily basis did not suffer any health problems - which was not the case in other quarries in Lancashire..
Go and look in St John's church at the pillars and just marvel at the skill that was needed to decorate them.
Written by Parish Councillor Eric Bell
This disused quarry is now used by walkers and climbers. The views from the top of the quarry are great. Preston, Blackpool Tower and the Ribble estuary can normally be seen. However, on a very clear day, one can easily see the hills of the Lake District to the north and those of Snowdonia to the south. Then, turning inland, one can see the Pennines.
Unlike Denham Quarry, Little Quarries and Whittle Hill Quarry are still working quarries. The following is taken from Lancashire County Council’s website http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=3087&pageid=7177 on 7th July 2011.
Little Quarries, Hill Top Lane, Whittle-le-Woods
Grid Reference: 584 220 Operations: Disposal of inert waste in a former sandstone / gritstone quarry Area: 6.6 hectares Operator: Ruttle Ltd
Location: Little Quarries occupies an elevated position to the east of Whittle-le-Woods located off Hill Top Lane. The site is bounded by farmland to the north and east, fields and gardens from a housing estate to the west, and Whittle Hill Quarry to the south. The M61 motorway is approximately 160 metres to the north-east.
Activities:The sandstone quarry produced crushed aggregate under a single Interim Development Order (IDO) permission granted in 1947. Mineral extraction has taken place up to the boundary of the planning permission resulting in the only remaining reserves being in deepening the quarry and working out the benches.
The County Council imposed modern conditions in October 1993 as part of the IDO Review under the requirements of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. A condition was imposed whereby mineral extraction would have ceased at the site not later than 21st February 2042 with final restoration by 21st February 2043.
The site has been the subject of a number of planning permissions for restoration and after-use. Planning permission was granted in 1998 varying conditions imposed on a planning permission granted in 1993, for the importation of inert wastes, the retention of buildings, wheel cleaning facilities, access lay-out, surface water drainage and a programme for restoration and aftercare. As part of the 1996 permission the operator entered into a Section 106 Agreement (Planning Obligation) that set out that mineral extraction would cease after 31st December 1997; and imports of inert materials would be limited to 400,000 cubic metres.
Planning permission was granted in 1999 for the construction of dry ski slopes with ancillary parking, amenities building and landscaping. The granting of planning permission was subject to a Section 106 Agreement to secure the funding for the making of a Traffic Regulation Order for the prohibition of waiting at the junction of Hill Top Lane and Chorley Old Road; for the revocation of the 1996 planning permission; and that no mining operations shall take place at the site. Planning permission has recently been granted to allow landfilling to continue until 2010.
Contact Details: Planning controls over the site, are administered by Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate. Planning Officer: Patrick McKeown 01772 534177
Whittle Hill Quarry
Whittle Hill Quarry, Hill Top Lane, Whittle-le-Woods
Grid Reference: 585 217 Operations: Sandstone/gritstone quarry (inactive) Area: 6.5 hectares Operator: Ruttle Ltd.
Location: Whittle Hill Quarry is located within Whittle-le-Woods, approximately 2 miles north of Chorley. Access to the site is from Hill Top Lane, which also serves the adjacent Little Quarries, although in the past an alternative access existed directly from Chorley Old Road.
Activities: The site has been worked for stone since the beginning of the last century. Planning permission was granted in 1951 for the extraction of sandstone in an area comprising 3.28 hectares at Whittle Hill Quarry. A further application was granted permission in 1957 covering an area of 1.76 hectares to the west of the main working area relating to the removal of quarry waste. The County Council imposed modern conditions in October 1997 as part of the Minerals Review under the requirements of the Environment Act 1995. Mineral extraction and the removal of quarry waste are scheduled to cease at the site not later than 21st February 2042 with final restoration by 21st February 2043. The quarry had previously been worked to a depth of around 40 metres. However, operations are not permitted to re-commence under the current planning permission until the operator has satisfied the requirements of a number of planning conditions. Since the suspension of extraction operations, the site has become flooded.
Contact Details: Planning controls over the site are, administered by Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate. Planning Officer: Patrick McKeown 01772 534177
History (taken from Town And Village Estate Agents website 7th July 2011)
The village's main trade was quarrying, it was well known for the production of mill stones, the problem was that it was very difficult to transport them. In the 1800s almost every village had a watermill, so demand for millstones was quite high, and Whittle-le-Woods stone was said to be one of the best. According to some, the quarry dates back to Roman times, evidence to suggest this is that Roman coins have been found in the quarry.