An Environment project Thorner, United Kingdom


Improving the appearance of the site,drawing attention to its geological and historical importance and preserving wildlife habitats.



The site we know as Thorner Quarry on Church Hill in Thorner is set into a sandstone outcrop known as Thorne Bank. (O S Grid Ref SE381407 - GPS W001⁰25’22.2” N53⁰51’38.0”)

It is significant because it’s one of the few sites in West Yorkshire to show a Permo-Carboniferous unconformity, the junction between the Permian and Carboniferous geological periods, with exposures of the Permian Yellow Sands and overlying Cadeby Formation limestones.


As such it is classed as a Local Geology Site, recognised by Natural England, and offers a valuable teaching aid, worthy of geo conservation. Little is known of its role as a quarry, but it was the site of houses  from the late 18th century until they were demolished late 1940s. Traces of the houses remain, with door and window lintels in the boundary wall, and cellars that were excavated into the rock face. These historical aspects are also worthy of conservation, a view supported by Thorner & District  Historical Society.

Over the last 70 years  the neglected site has become overgrown with self-set trees, which have hidden the rock face and in places put pressure on the retaining walls leading to a collapse in a couple of places. Its appearance does nothing to enhance this entrance route to the historic village of Thorner and its conservation area. 







In 2010 the Parish Plan Review identified the site as one where there was an opportunity to enhance the appearance and interest of the village, and a working group has been formed to undertake a feasibility study leading to recommendations of what might be done.

The group proposed that as a minimum an interpretive panel be installed to explain the geological and historical significance of the site, but also suggested the possibility of opening up of part of the site for public access, and a range of possible options were illustrated by computer projections.

The Mexborough Estate  are owners of the site.  They have worked closely with the study group, and are willing to negotiate a licence for  use of  the land with a peppercorn rent.

This computer generated 3D image of how the site could look, but further consultation with local residents will be undertaken before final proposals are agreed.


A public consultation was carried out early in March 2015. Feedback indicated a general desire to do something that would tidy up the site, but with respect for wildlife, neighbouring properties, and safety. Advice was sought from Leeds City Council Trees Officer, Conservation, Environmental and Highways Officers, a Bat Group and West Yorkshire Police, and all of these contacts have been supportive.

West Yorkshire Geology Trust describe the proposals as

“…a groundbreaking and nationally unique plan: the Trust has actively supported it since its inception, and will continue to do so.”

We’ve undertaken a topographical survey of the site that was jointly funded by The Mexborough Estate and Thorner Parish Council. The next step is to produce  detailed options that will be used to get more feedback from residents. This will then enable us to prepare a final proposal, get this costed and apply for grants.

Before we can do this we need more information about the stability of the rock face, the nature of the infill, and the ecological aspects. This entails commissioning surveys – a geotechnical survey and possibly an ecological survey. In addition we shall have costs of preparing material for the public consultation

These could cost in the order of £3,000 - £4,000, and we seek Crowd Funding support to contribute to this amount. If contributions exceed this figure any balance will be carried forward to support the implementation stages of the project.  If there is a shortfall the working group will undertake local fund raising activities to supplement what is received.

All members of the group are volunteers who give of their time without charge, and cover routine expenditure – all funds raised will be used to commission expert specialist advice and produce material for the next public consultation exercise.

 By offering to help our project you will be helping to

  • Show public support that will serve to strengthen subsequent grant applications.
  • Stop the further decline of this prominent site.
  • Safeguard the  geological and historical features the site contains


  Please see


As well as a reward to acknowledge each level of contribution, all supporters will have free entry to a prize draw to win a signed limited edition print by Yorkshire artist Peter Brook to be chosen from the selection on the website

Further rewards include copies of an archival photo of the site, a guided tour of the site led by an expert geologist, an invitation to a VIP opening at completion of the project, and a print of a local scene in a watercolour painted by a Thorner artist.