One of the most recognisable building stones in both Somerset and Dorset, blue lias is the product of layers of limestone and shale which were formed during the late Triassic and Jurassic periods – about 195 million years ago! The beautiful blue/grey tint to this rock comes from the formation of pyrite from sulphite and iron and as such the colour varies depending on the dissemination of the pyrite throughout. The layers are visible on cliff formations along the Jurassic coastline as well as sites on the Somerset coast such as Kilve and Watchet. Keen fossil hunters will find all sorts of remains, particularly ammonites, within these layers.Here at Ashen Cross Quarry we are lucky to be able to source one of the most beautiful and in demand stones in the South West. Somerset County Council has stated that blue lias ‘makes a major contribution to the built heritage and character of Somerset’. Historic homes and churches throughout Somerset have been built with this stone and, indeed, many cemeteries in the county are filled with blue lias tombstones. Nowadays we supply building stone for new home developments and extensions which are set in conservation areas and so require stone in keeping with the original appearance of the vicinity.
A stone which complements both rustic and modern architecture, we find blue lias remains in demand. It is a versatile building component, historically used in lime mortar and still a raw material in the making of cement and nowadays popular as flag and flooring stones, cobbles and walling stones.