|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area||9.65 ha (23.85 acres)|
|Managed by||Natural England|
|Area of Search||Wiltshire|
|Interest||Biological and Geological|
|Website : Map of Site|
Chilmark Quarries (grid reference ST974312) is a 9.65 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, in the ravine south of the village of Chilmark in Wiltshire, notified in 1977.
Chilmark stone, a form of limestone, is still mined at the site, subject to restrictions intended to protect the bats and other wildlife. The operator Chicksgrove Quarry Ltd also extracts Chilmark stone from Chicksgrove Quarry, a site 1.5 miles away.
Within the disused quarries on the western side of the valley, there is a system of caves in which up to 150 bats, of several species, roost in winter. The largest British wintering roost of Bechstein's Bat is here. Other species which utilise the site include Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats, Daubenton's Bat, Natterer's Bat and Brandt's Bat.
The quarry has exposures of Jurassic rocks, part of the Purbeckian beds. It is a fine building stone used for the main structure of Salisbury Cathedral and many other local buildings. Purbeckian limestones, possibly from Chilmark, were used for packing around at least one of the upright stones of Stonehenge, for houses on an Iron Age site at Fifield Bavant, and for Rockbourne Roman Villa and other Roman sites. Chilmark stone is easy to work, but long-lived in use. Fossils are uncommon in the stone presently being extracted, but include ammonites and other shells.
- Chicksgrove Quarry operates the stone mine and cutting yard in Chilmark Quarries
- Wiltshire Community Histories
- English Nature citation sheet for the site (accessed 25 July 2006)
- English Nature website (SSSI information)
- SSSI boundary at English Nature's "Nature on the Map" website
- Aerial photo of the site at Multimap.com
- Building Research Establishment report on Chilmark stone
- Joint Nature Conservation Committee for Chilmark quarries
- John Palmer's study of Roman Purbeck quarry industries