Whatley has been operating since the 1960s and is the largest of Hanson UK’s quarries. It is situated between the villages of Mells and Chantry in the Mendip Hills Natural Character Area around four miles west of Frome and employs over 60 people directly, along with a wide range of support staff and contractors. The quarry supplies crushed limestone aggregate to local markets by road and to depots in London and south east England via a dedicated rail link. It operates 24 hours a day and produces between three and four million tonnes of aggregate a year. There are on-site plants for making asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. Limestone reserves are in the order of 130 million tonnes.
The site extends to 173 hectares, of which 120 hectares comprise the limestone extraction site. The remaining land is arable fields, ancient and semi natural woodland, hedgerows, small rural settlements and small pockets of calcareous grassland.
Habitats in the quarry comprise varying aged screen plantations, a quarry sump, bench planting and bare ground and grassed benches, pockets of lowland meadow and grazed pasture. The neighbouring Asham Wood SAC and Vallis Vale SSSI are also within Hanson ownership and feature a variety of habitats.
Restoration of the quarry will achieve a mix of lowland mixed deciduous woodland, calcareous grassland and a large water body.