Gallagher have just celebrated 20 years of quarrying Kentish Ragstone at Hermitage Quarry, Barming, near Maidstone, with customers, suppliers, employees, family and friends.
Pat Gallagher had a dream of owning a farm and that came true in 1987 with the purchase of Hermitage Farm. The farm sat on ragstone reserves and so with bundles of enthusiasm and very basic machinery he tried his luck at “rooting out” the ragstone as an add-on to his contracting business.
In 1989 he was granted planning permission to quarry 53 acres and that started a story of massive investment and innovation to create the most modern and efficient quarrying operation you could imagine. Over the last 20 years 74 acres have been quarried and some 40 acres have been reinstated to productive agricultural land and woodland. The new pasture / arable land is far better quality than the original. In addition, over a quarter of a million native trees and shrubs have been planted as hedges, copse and woodland providing a vastly increased and connected wildlife habitat, much of which is open to the public. Today, Hermitage Quarry produces some 700,000 tonnes per year of sub-base material, capping layers, rock armour, walling, gabion stone and premium grade single sized washed aggregates and sands. The quarry operation also produces dressed stone for building work and restoration projects. Significant quantities of re-cycled demolition material are processed and the business provides a considerable quantity of ready-mixed concrete to the local market.