Copenacre Quarry - Corsham - 2011
This was really the first kind of "hard core" explore I've ever done, in that we had to stay up really late to get in and left in the early hours. Me, if I'm up late I like a drink and to rest my bones in front of the fire.
Copenacre quarry started life as an average size bathstone quarry that had been quarried for it's stone since around 1850. Quarrying stopped sometime in the early 20th century and in 1940 with an urgent need for more secure underground storage the Government acquired Copenacre for use as a Royal Naval Store Depot.
Two new lifts were installed and a new shaft was sunk to provide access to the centre of the quarry. All the shafts were heavily reinforced with large concrete buildings. The estimated cost to convert the quarry was £192,500, but the Navy demanded the best of everything and within weeks costs had exceeded the agreed budget. Copenacre was put in to use in 1942, mainly providing support for the Navy's electronic equipment with storage and test facilities.
In 1954 with changes in global warfare Copenacre was expanded as the site protected by 100 feet of rock offered much better protection from an atom bomb than anything on the surface, so the site was expanded.
By 1969 Copenacre was a self contained unit dealing with storage and testing for the whole range of electronic kit for the Navy. By this time the Copenacre organisation also had storage space in Spring Quarry and Monks Park Quarry.
It was announced in 1972 that Copenacre was to be closed, however this caused a bit of a stir as at the time the Royal Navy depot was the largest employer in North Wiltshire employing 1700 staff. The depot was saved.
Copenacre Quarry finally closed on 30th September 1995 and the quarry was sold off to Hanson to be incorporated into the nearby Hartham Park quarry, some 1.0km to the South. However the surface stores and offices continued in use until about 2009.
The Copenacre quarry is now being used to store waste material extracted from the adjoining mine and the tunnels are slowly being back filled.
There where two distinct parts to this quarry, the new part where there was still signs of activity and an old part, that definitely felt largely abandoned. This is the new part.
And this is the old part.