This film is part of Free

Blowing Up the Dales

The pros and cons of quarrying in national parks, and the irony of a state of affairs where what aids the enjoyment of landscape also destroys it.

Documentary 1987 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This is an insightful, and still relevant, documentary made by Yorkshire Television that presents the conflict between environmentalists and limestone and gritstone companies quarrying in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire National Parks. Among the many interviewed, both for and against the quarrying, is the comedian and folk singer Mike Harding, who makes an impassioned case for closing the quarries.

The quarrying industry in the Dales dates back hundreds of years, not just for limestone but also for sandstone and ‘gritstones’. Despite the continual protests over the quarrying, production has if anything increased since the film was made: National Park quarries produce around 4 million tonnes per annum, much of it as foundation for roads. Many of the planning permissions for quarries were granted before or just after the national parks were set up in 1949, so they rarely include any need for backfilling or landscaping. As well as being a musician and comedian Mike Harding has also been heavily involved in environmental issues and is a vice-president of the Ramblers' Association.