The Linby Quarries are a fine example of a disturbed limestone area which has been recolonised naturally by vegetation over many years and which shows the successional stages of this colonisation. The early stages in the succession are present in the western quarries where a series of colonisation stages from bare rock to tall scrub occur. Notable among these communities is the presence of calcareous scrub which shows an unusual diversity for a north Midlands locality, and includes such plant species as spindle Euonymus europaeus, dogwood Swida sanguinea and buckthorne Rhamnus catharticus among many others. Other features of interest in these western quarries are small areas of calcareous grassland and also a number of calcareous flushes, pools and marshes. The succession of vegetation types is continued in the quarries to the east, south and north where the scrub has developed into woodland. In the north, parts of the woodland are characterised by plant species indicative of ancient woodland, such as small-leaved lime Tilia cordata. These plant communities may be the result of the survival there of areas of primary woodland which have escaped quarrying. Additional interest is provided by the presence of a varied breeding bird community.
Yellowstone quarry is a long-established Limestone quarry and the last of the Linby Quarries producing the locally distinctive ‘Bulwell Stone’ which features in the historic built environment in and around Nottingham and is commonly associated with boundary walls. The quarry lies just outside of the small village of Linby, itself situated just to the north of Hucknall on the B6011 and in the borough of Gedling. Nottingham lies some 11km distant to the south and the Robin Hood railway line skirts the village to the west. Papplewick is a further mile east along the B6011. Linby village is characteristically linear in form with traditional stone-built properties lining the B6011 Main Street which is notable for its wide central verges and greens alongside a small watercourse. These are known as the ‘Linby Docks’. There are two ancient standing crosses at each end of the Docks known as the top cross and bottom cross and both are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. A number of the stone-built cottages are Grade II Listed and the wider village was designated a Conservation Area in 1972. Facilities in the village include a public house, the County Council run Brooke Farm and Farmshop and a primary school (Linby cum Papplewick C of E). The quarry is situated in a relatively remote wooded area known as Quarry Banks which lies to the north of the village and accessed from it by Quarry Lane. This narrow and private lane, comes off the eastern end of Main Street by the Bottom Cross and proceeds northwards. On the edge of the woods, there is a restored former quarry (Abbey Quarry). The lane then reaches a single property (Keepers Cottage). Passing immediately adjacent to Keepers Cottage, through a shared gateway, the route then becomes a woodland track leading to the quarry itself. One further residential property lies within the woods -Weir Mills Farm-which along with a range of barns is Grade II listed, the house itself being approximately 130m south of the quarry.
The woods have naturally re-colonised after centuries of stone quarrying activity and Yellowstone Quarry is the last remaining, working the distinctive Bulwell Stone. The woods are protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by reason of their progressive mixed calcareous scrub. There are also several calcareous pools and marshes and a small tributary of the River Leen, bridged by the quarry access track. A Local Wildlife Site designation (Quarry Banks LWS) also covers the woodlands and the quarry itself. The quarry is approximately 3.7 hectares in size and the quarry floor has been excavated to about 3-5m below original ground levels. It is bordered on three sides by the SSSI woodland, the boundaries with which generally slope down into the quarry. The eastern side has an exposed vertical cliff face beyond which lie open fields. Newstead Abbey Park and Garden start approximately 500m to the north-east and the Abbey itself is around 1.5km distant. The site is also wholly situated within the Green Belt and overlies an aquifer.
Between 5,000 -10,000 tonnes of stone is typically quarried per year, of which 80% is Bulwell Stone with the remaining 20% being ‘Linby Blue’, a secondary stone. Bulwell/Linby stone from Quarry Banks was used extensively around Nottingham during the late 19thC and early 20thC particularly in distinctive rusticated boundary walls to some of the highest quality Victorian buildings. It is a stone that is in demand for conservation repair work and it is often preferred for new buildings where it is important to retain local distinctiveness (such as within Conservation Areas).
Yellowstone is the last remaining quarry in the ‘Quarry Banks’ area to the north of Linby village. Magnesian Limestone known as Bulwell Stone has been quarried from this locality for centuries and can be seen in the high quality architecture of the ruins of Newstead Abbey, for example, but is better known for its extensive use during the Victorian era as a characterful local building stone and ornamental walling stone, as can be seen in high status and civic buildings, schools, churches and mansions in and around Nottingham. Contemporary uses include its use in flood defences along the River Trent and for repairs or sympathetic additions to historic buildings. As many as seven quarries were recorded to be operational locally in the 19thC, with Yellowstone known to be worked at least back to the 1930s. However following the exhaustion and closure of the nearby Abbey Quarry, and other closures in the Mansfield area, Yellowstone is the now the last remaining active building stone quarry in Nottinghamshire and also the sole source of Bulwell Stone.