Steve Rodenhurst, digging a hole!

Steve Rodenhurst, digging a hole at Pymhill !


A more disappointing dig, was one undertaken at Ritton Castle Mine, a very promising level was discovered, which ran in a direction that suggested a connection with nearby workings.

A long term dig was started, through a shaft collapse in the level. It was one of those digs, that seemed to have filled-up every time you return to it! A dedicated group of members typically made 2 visits a week for several months:

Steve Holding digging at Ritton Castle

Above: Steve Holding digging at Ritton Castle

After several months of hard work, the shifting of loads of sand and rubble, numerous bent and broken props later, the blockage was cleared, only to find the passage was a blind heading a few yards past the fall!

Oh, well you can't win them all!!

Like any Club exploring underground, a point is eventually reached where it is necessary to dig through a roof fall or boulder choke.

In such cases, you dig a hole and use what ever materials are handy to make it safe, then hope for the best and press on.

On long-term digs, a lot of effort goes into transporting props and supports underground, while desperately trying to find nooks and crannies to stuff the spoil into - anything to reduce the distance you have to drag or shovel it!!

Not all digs are like this. One fine spring day at Pimhill in Shropshire, a certain Club Member took a fancy to a spot on the hillside and started digging into the soft sandy ground....

Two metres later he hit the top of a tunnel entrance, which gave access to several metres of nice hand cut passages in white and red sandstone.

Pymhill Mine Tunnel

Above: Pymhill Mine Tunnel

This passage linked to a rubbish filled shaft that the rest of us had been attempting to explore (!)

A bonus was the discovery in the level ofyet another bat a previously unknown colony of Natterers and Lesser Horseshoe bats, how they got in there without a shovel no one knows!



Thanks to:
The Landowners at Pymhill and Ritton Castle for allowing us access to their property.

Pictures: Pymhill - Peter Eggleston/I.A.Recordings. Ritton Castle - Mike Worsfold.