Stoke Hill Mine is also known as Hayes Wood (an earlier quarry with which it connects underground). It has been worked for Bath Stone for hundreds of years. During World War II the quarry was used for ammunition storage. Some brick reinforcement of the pillars in the central area of the mine dates from this period.
The quarry was re-opened in 1983 by the Bath Stone Group. The area currently being worked lies across the Midford Fault and extensive rock bolting is used to ensure stability of the workings. The extraction is highly mechanised with stone saw cuts creating the block before it is split away from the rear face using hydraulic rams.
Sub Brit was lucky to have a tour of the mine in 2006, the group being split into 15 visitors at a time to ciomply with Health and Safety regulations. Self rescuers were carried by everyone while underground.
The stone is used for both restoration and new-build projects; the Bath Stone Group being market leaders in the field. Blocks are stored on the surface, marked with weight and orientation (for the masons). A two tonne block of stone might be worth around £2,000.