Hanson\'s Brinscall Quarry near Chorley in Lancashire is taking part in a pilot scheme to find new markets for gritstones and sandstones.
Linking up with Hanson Bath & Portland Stone, the quarry is supplying large boulders to a masonry company.
The gritstone quarry normally produces stone chippings and sand but now the stone is being trialled for more decorative uses, including paving and ashlar cladding.
The move into the new markets came as Bath & Portland Stone\'s general manager, Jonathan Pitt, started exploring new sources of materials within the group.
"We want to expand our product range from limestone and the move into sandstone is the first step. The stone from this quarry, known as Brinscall Brown, has potential for blockstone as it has an interesting texture and colour," he says.
The move to explore new markets coincides with a decision to stop blasting at Brinscall and instead remove rock in 7-8 tonne blocks from the face using a 55 tonne excavator.
Manager Dave Large says: "This is a more environmentally friendly way of extracting rock. There is less noise and dust and we are able to produce higher quality aggregate with less waste."
The quarry produces around 5,000 tonnes of stone a week, of which 60 tonnes is currently set aside for block stone.
Gritstone from nearby Montcliffe and two other quarries is currently being evaluated at Bath and Portland\'s Keynsham masonry works near Bristol to test its suitability for decorative masonry, such as fireplaces and ashlar for building and landscape paving.
"I am always interested to hear about other sources in the group -- both across the UK and worldwide. There is undoubtedly an increasing market for foreign stone and in Hanson we must have some of the best resources around the globe," adds Pitt.