Brada Quarry, Bamburgh

DBS Environmental Phase 2 Ground Investigations

Brada Quarry, Bamburgh

DBS assisted the client with a Phase 2 Site Investigation for a deep groundwater abstraction well necessary for providing a source of clean drinking water and developing the site as a new holiday park, including Eco Lodges, car parking and landscaping.

  • Client: Confidential Developer Client
  • Date: October 22, 2014


Brada Quarry is a former Whinstone Quarry located to the west of Budle Bay, Bamburgh, Northumberland.  The quarry was last worked in the 1950s, and since that time has stood empty.
Our client proposed developing the site for residential use comprising a new holiday park, including Eco Lodges, car parking and landscaping.  In order to provide the new development with a source of drinking water, the potential for a deep groundwater abstraction well was evaluated, as well as the traditional option of using mains fed potable supplies.
The latter option was the preferred solution, and Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) were contacted regarding providing drinking water supplies to the new development.  As the site was a former quarry and brownfield, prior to serving the new development NWL required information to demonstrate that contamination was not present that could impact on potable water supplies.
Contamination in the ground is a potential risk to new pipework from chemical attack of the pipework itself, and from permeation of pipework tainting supplies, and ultimately potentially impacting on human
health.  DBS were therefore appointed to evaluate contamination potential on the site with regards to new potable water supplies.  The work commenced in the usual manner by evaluating contaminated land risks in a tiered approach, with a Phase 1 Desk Study and initial Conceptual Model prepared first (often referred to as a Preliminary Risk Assessment).
The Phase 1 report also included a review of local history information and publications on the site, this revealed its interesting history.  Quarrying is first documented as taking place from the early 1900s, when five men worked the Whinstone by hand. From the early 1930s production increased and a crushing and screening plant was installed, and a 2 foot gauge railway line. The railway line was portable and could be moved to each new working face, and extended back to a rope worked incline to the crusher/screens.  The stone was extracted using a hydraulically operated drill to drill holes in the rock, with black powder used as an explosive to bring down part of the quarry face. Loading of the stone wagons was performed manually!
The explosives store with its reinforced door and bomb proof hinges could still be observed on site when DBS did the walkover survey.

The Phase 1 report identified potential contamination risks at the site as a result of its former use, as such a comprehensive Phase 2 investigation was designed and executed on site.  The Phase 2 investigation identified that the site comprised re-worked Whinstone across its entirety to create a level platform within the bowl of the quarry, significant contamination was not present, the site comprised natural materials only overlying shallow rockhead.

As a result, DBS liaised directly with NWL regarding the new potable supplies, no risks were present which enabled our client to apply for a new consent, and our work provided NWL with confidence that there were no risks present to property (their
pipework), or human health (future site occupiers/construction workers).  The site is located in a stunning part of rural Northumberland, with magnificent views to Bamburgh Castle, it will be satisfying to see this
site return to beneficial use and to bring further prosperity to the local area.