Quarry Bends

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Quarry Bends

The A3 Castletown to Ramsey Road approaching Quarry Bends, near Sulby, Isle of Man.

Quarry Bends (Manx: Close e Volley – Enclosure of the Old Curragh Road)[1] is situated adjacent to the 19th Milestone road-side marker on the Snaefell Mountain Course on the primary A3 Castletown to Ramsey, in the parishes of Ballaugh and Lezayre in the Isle of Man. Quarry Bends is the site of the Curraghs Wildlife Park, the nearby Gob y Volley Forestry Plantation and Close e Volley Depot, Forestry Division, Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and the former Ballavolley Quarry.
The enclosures at Close e Volley and Ballavolley are part of the wetlands of the Ballaugh Curragh (Norse: Mirescog – Mire of the Turbary)[2] of 1,000 acres (405 ha) in area.[3] The primary A3 road as part of The Long Round the journey from Castletown to Ramsey made by horse-drawn carriers and the A14 Sandygate Road form a boundary of the Curragh’s wetland along with the tertiary U7 Old Sulby Road, C29 Old Windmill Road and B9 Ballacrye Road. In 1879 the Manx Northern Railway built a narrow gauge railway from St.John’s to Ramsey which ran parallel to the A3 road from Kirk Michael to Sulby Bridge. The railway line crossed a number of minor roads as it passed through the Curraghs at Ballacrye, Ballavolley and Cooilbane. A small railway siding was built in 1882 to serve Clarke’s stone quarry at Ballavolley crossing the primary A3 road at Close e Volley, later renamed Quarry Bends, running to a small loading wharf and siding to the main Ramsey to St. John’s railway line.[4]

TT racers approaching Quarry Bends in 2003

The Curragh’s wetlands were traditionally an area for growing hay for grazing including attempts in the 1930s to grow New Zealand flax. The area was purchased in 1963 by the Isle of Man Forestry, Lands and Mines Board and the Curraghs Wildlife Park of 211 Acres (85 ha) at Quarry Bends was opened by the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, Sir Ronald Garvey on 23 July 1965.[5] The Curragh’s Wildlife Park is now part of the Isle of Man Department of Community, Culture & Leisure and the park includes from 1992 The Orchid Line, a multi-gauge miniature railway of 1,750 feet in length operated by the Manx Model Engineering Society.
The Quarry Bends complex of bends was part of the Highland Course and Four Inch Course used for the Tourist Trophy automobile car races held in the Isle of Man between 1906 and 1922.[6] Quarry Bends is now part of the Snaefel
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