Kelton Quarry once supplied limestone for the West Cumbrian iron industry. It closed in 1950, but the flat, excavated amphitheatre now provides an inspiring location for a karting circuit. The limestone cliffs, the twisting tar macadam track, the red and white barriers and the grass covering the old quarry floor have transformed a scene of extractive industry into a colourful leisure location.Elsewhere the old limestone quarry at High Head near Brigham presents an ideal challenge for novice climbers.The three Langrigg Quarries were once the basis of a gypsum industry. They have long been filled in and the desecrated landscape returned to agricultural use. The small quarry at Stockhowhall, with its pools and woodland, has been slowly rewilding for the last hundred years.In 1929, Beatrix Potter bought Little Langdale Quarries. She gave them to the National Trust and today they provide an attractive location for climbers.The thousands of quarries in Cumbria are gradually being absorbed back into the landscape.The earliest known quarrying in Cumbria took place over five thousand years ago in the Neolithic period. Tuffs of Borrowdale Volcanic rock were shaped into stone axes at more that thirty ‘factories’ in Little Langdale from where they were traded across Britain. The marks of Roman quarrying can be seen on the rocks in Gelt Woods and Chalk Beck, south of Dalston.The monks at Lanercost used the stones from the Roman Wall to build their priory. The masons who built Furness Abbey had to cut their own blocks from the nearby Sherwood Sandstone and shape them and dress them on the site of the abbey.Slate quarrying, especially in the nineteenth century, scarred the landscape. The quarries were often in remote and barely accessible places. High above Brothers Water, at Caudale Quarry, there are still the remains of a cabin and five riving or dressing sheds.They left huge spoil heaps sprawled across many fell sides. Over eighty-five per cent of the rock extracted proved to be waste. The vast spoil heaps of Stainton Ground Quarries can been seen spreading across the flanks of Stickle Pike.In 1857 the quarry at Threlkeld was producing the ballast for the Cockermouth to Penrith Railway. Twenty years later it was supplying materials for the dam at Thirlmere. In 1949, the quarry “was employing thirty drivers, seven plant operators, five excavator operators, and two drop-ball navvy operators, but only five stone-getters”. The quarry closed in 1982.The vast limestone quarry at Hardendale, on Shap Fell, opened in 1960. The limestone was needed for steelworks in Glasgow. The equally large quarry at Holme Park opened in the 1920s. It expanded hugely when it supplied the aggregate for the construction of the M6. The quarry hopes to obtain consent to carry on working the rock until 2043.Bowscar Quarry, which re-opened in 2008 has consent to continue working for the next twenty-five years. Today, it produces decorative and dressed-stone products, but Penrith was built with the red sandstone from the Bowscar area.Cumbria has a rich and varied geology and Cumbrian stone has been much in demand over the centuries. It has provided the material for most of our distinctive buildings and its quarrying has shaped our landscape.David Johnson provides a very attractive picture of the industry. His brief historical sketch is supported by over two hundred colour photographs of quarries in all parts of the county.Some are huge scars disfiguring the fells, but most of the quarries are slowly being reabsorbed into the landscape.