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Middleton Mine

S of Gorebridge, SW of Middleton, W of Hurcheon Hill, Midlothian.

NGR:NT 35300 57400
WGS84:55.80553, -3.03378
Length:Not recorded
Vert. Range:Not recorded
Altitude:Not recorded
Tags:Mine, ManMade, Archaeo

Pillar and stall, Limestone Mine in open-cast quarry..

Two short sections still exist. Two large entrances in 'new' quarry north of the road. Little of interest except brickwork and pigeons. [Jim Salvona, 1984]

Middleton Quarry and Mine, Gorebridge. Midlothian. Mining the North Greens (No. 2) Limestone. The thickness of the seam is 50 ft. though only the lower 20 ft. is in massive beds and suitable for mining. Chemical analysis shows it is 94.09% calcium carbonate and is of uniform high quality. The limestone was burnt in vertical, continuous mixed-feed kilns to produce lime for both agriculture and building purposes. Ground limestone was also produced. The rocks are of the Lower Limestone Group of the Carboniferous period. The quarry is now disused. [Scran]

North Middleton Quarry is located south of Edinburgh, near Gorebridge and until recently [?] was the last limestone quarry working the North Greens (No.2) Limestone which lies at the base of the Carboniferous Lower Limestone Group. Although the seams of the N. Greens Limestone are approx. 15m thick, the top 9m is not worked due to alternating layers of limestone and shale partings. The lower beds, which have a cream or pale grey appearance have been worked extensively and mined in the past. The quarry floor in the bottom quarry dips at 15 - 20º to the West, where 3 mine entrances are located. The quarry is cut in 2 by a roadway which separates the top and bottom quarries, the last time the quarries were worked for stone was around 15yrs for the bottom quarry and 10yrs for the top, although one of the quarries is still used for processing material from another region. The most interesting aspect of Middleton Quarry is the pillar & stall extraction method, which involves mining around pillars of rock which are left to support the roof. This is most evident in the top quarry which lies higher than the lower quarry which has considerable flooding due to run off from fields etc. This type of mine can be quite dangerous as the existing rock is the only support for the roof which makes these mines unpredictable and prone to collapse. I never ventured into the mines therefore all photos are taken from the outside looking in. There is also remnants of a surviving Lime Kiln which would have been used to process materials from the mines. [thehunter01, c. 2011]

The upper quarry has only two entrances now, partially blocked and it is getting infilled by waste earth. Nice headroom right at the entrances but there is a deep mud unfortunately. Quite fresh, cracked on surface and pretty deep. Roof hanging in thin air and lot of soil falling in one place forming a tidy piles. Looks like a shake hole is forming above the ceiling and it has a cupole shape covered with stalactites. [lonely wolff, 2015]

Middleton Limestone Quarry - The site measures approximately 7.7 hectares with the proposed infill area being 5.15 hectares. The site comprises the quarry void with quarry faces and soil storage bunds on the periphery and areas of quarry spoil within the void. Entrances to former underground workings are visible in the quarry faces. Accessed from a point off an unclassified road that runs in an east to west orientation and which bounds the site to the north. The unclassified road is accessed off Guildiehowes Road which in turn is accessed off the A7 located nearby to the north of the site. In March 1982 planning permission ref.198/81 was granted for the extraction and working of limestone on both Middleton No.1 and No.2 quarries. Planning permission expired. In December 2012 the Planning Authority served a Breach of Condition Notice on Leiths (Scotland) Limited; operator of Middleton Quarry, requiring them to take action in relation to conditions attached to planning permission 198/81 requiring the infilling and restoration of the whole site to an agricultural use by the 19th December 2016. The breach of condition Notice only required the reinstatement of No.2 quarry. No.2 quarry (also known as the upper quarry) is presently [c. 2016] being infilled in compliance with the Breach of Condition Notice. Current application specifies use of restored ground for recreational use. SNH specified that mitigation measures be put in place to protect hibernating bats and the safe relocation of an active badger sett. [Midlothian Planning Application]

A Scottish waste disposal firm has created a £50,000 bat cave in a bid to protect a number of species which are resident in the Lothians. The bat cave has been created in an old mine at Middleton Quarry. NWH Group has invested the cash to support bat populations at Middleton Quarry on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The resident bats hibernate in the old mine area of the quarry. Senior figures at the company said the investment was part of a long-running project which aims to return the site to nature. The business first acquired Middleton Quarry in 2013 with the intention of reinstating woodland and grass within the area. Mark Williams, grandson of NWH Group founder Derek Williams and current managing director, said the company was excited by its success in helping to protect Scottish wildlife. "We are involved in a diverse range of recycling projects and it's really satisfying to see our team take such an innovative approach, and be instrumental in a conservation initiative that has a really positive impact on our local environment," he said. Collaborating with consultant ecologist David Dodds Associates under a Scottish National Heritage licence, NWH has been working to protect the old mine where the bats reside and has installed gabion basket structures formed by recycling existing rock from the quarry. Now that the bat cave is open and fully operational in the upper part of the quarry, three different species of bat can use the site to hibernate. The brown long-eared, Natterer's and Daubenton's bats fly up to 50 kilometres in order to roost in the disused mine. NWH Group first began reestablishing the upper quarry by filling in the excavation with materials such as clay, soil and bricks. Following its successful launch of the new bat cave, NWH is now pursuing a range of future plans aimed at re-instating the lower quarry. Andy Dorin, Forth area manager for the Scottish Natural Trust, has welcomed news of the firm's investment in the bat cave. He said: "Bats are extremely dependent on their winter roosts and are very vulnerable to habitation loss due to destructors such as pesticides. "We are all dependent on bats in terms of food webs, and so we welcome any effort towards conservation, particularly such a significant one as the new cave in Middleton Quarry. "Bats eat midges and are one of the top insect predators in Britain. "There are many species of bats in Britain that people simply don't see because they only come out in the dark. The three species of bat which reside in the new cave are all great species of bat which are integral to the environment in Scotland." [Scotsman, 20 July 2017]

Middleton Upper Quarry near Gorebridge has recently been filled with over 600,000 tonnes of spoil from the Borders Railway. My company (David Dodds Associates Ltd.) worked closely with NWH Group, the owners and operators of the site. We used acoustic monitoring to assess which access tunnels were favoured by bats entering and leaving the disused mine workings. Under a Scottish Natural Heritage derogation license NWH staff used gabion baskets to create a safe access route for bats to continue accessing the mine after the quarry was filled in. Although the appearance of the site has changed considerably, a section of cliff face above the favoured entrance has been retained and stabilised, acting as a sign-post towards the entrance favoured by the bats. The position of this entrance within the mine allows warm air to vent naturally, but an additional ventilation pipe has also been installed to ensure that temperature conditions remain suitable should that change. I'm happy to say that the first underground survey, during January 2015 showed that the mine continues to be used by Natterer's, Daubenton's and Brown Long-eared Bats. We hope to use a similar approach to the adjacent Middleton Lower Quarry in due course. [David's Bat Blog]

Alternate Names: North Middleton Mine, Middleton North Limestone Works

Notes: Reference in The National Archives, Kew to Underground accommodation: Middleton Limestone Mine, Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, 1952 Oct 27 - 1953 Sep 14. WORK 28/267.

Care should be taken as build up of CO2 was reported in 2014 and 2018 by residents of Gorebridge relating to seepage from nearby coal mines possibly produced by oxidizing coal deposits. While no gas build-up has been reported in the Limestone Mines gas testing is advised. [Scottish Construction Now]

Hydrographic Feeds: None

Hydrographic Resurgences: None

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This entry was last updated: 2021-04-20 16:12:30

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