The industrial past of Leigh Woods

Past quarrying in the Avon Gorge © National Trust

Past quarrying in the Avon Gorge

In the 18th century the Avon Gorge in Bristol was quarried to produce building stone for the city, stone was taken by boat into the floating harbour.

Celestine mining in Leigh Woods

In the 19th century celestine was discovered in Leigh Court estate in Leigh Woods and the Miles family authorised quarrying. Between 1880 and 1920 Bristol was producing 90 percent of the world's celestine, but the enterprise did not last long into the 20th century.

Bristol diamonds

Brilliant quartz crystals found in geodes in dolomitic conglomerate in the gorge, were popular souvenirs for visitors to the Hotwells spa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Two railways run through the gorge

On the east side of the gorge the Severn Beach Line (to Avonmouth and Severn Beach), uses the remaining part of the Bristol Port Railway through the gorge, and then a tunnel under Clifton and Durdham Downs. On the west side the Portishead Railway was closed by the Beeching Axe in the 1960s, but has now been reopened for freight traffic as far as Royal Portbury Dock.