Pymhill Mine is north of Shrewsbury, on a sandstone escarpment west of the A528 near to the small village of Harmer Hill.
A fault runs north-south through Pym (or Pim) Hill, on the westside lies mottled sandstone and on the east waterstones and the upper Keuper Sandstone beds. Malachite, absolite and vanadium were found along the fault, with extensive baryte veining in the country rock.
It is not known exactly when copper was first discovered or worked here, although Goughs History of Myddle (a village about 2.5km North-west of Pymhill) mentions copper mining taking place near here in the early 1640's.
The first documentary evidence is when the Countess of Bridgewater granted Abraham Derby & Co. of Bristol a 14 year lease (on May 1st 1710) to search for and mine copper ore and other minerals from the Pymhill and Myddle area. Very little mining actually took place.
The main period of activity (like other nearby copper mines) was in the 1860's. A team of 10 to 20 men sank 3 shafts, surface trenching along the vein and a cross-cut to intersect the ore at depth, however work ceased with the collapse in copper prices in the 1870's.
Unsuccessful cobalt exploration was also carried out here in the 1900's.
Exploration by the Club has revealed one shaft open to surface carved in the sandstone country rock. About 20m down the slightly off vertical shaft a narrow level leads off northwards then curves west to a collapse.
The shaft is almost full of rubbish - agricultural chemical drums and chicken shed slurry (the latter has flowed into the level leaving limited crawling room. At the same point in the shaft, a short blind heading, goes a couple of metres east.
About 20 years ago older club members report that the shaft lead down to a small stope below the current accessible 'bottom'.
A search of the hill, did not reveal any other open shafts or levels -although there was a depression in a nearby field that looked like the crown of a filled shaft.
However, one member of the team 'spied' a likely gulley and started digging....... (see right)
At about 2 metres down, he hit the top of a sandstone entrance arch - could this have been the cross-cut mentioned in the historical records?
The most promising route from the cross-roads was the level heading due north - this was expected to intersect the open shaft, just behind the rubbish fill. However, after a few metres it was discovered that the chicken shed slurry that had been pumped down the shaft had also flowed into this level, completely blocking it up to the roof.
Examination of the slurry revealed hundreds of tiny footprints - were they rats or bats?
- They were bats, the mine contained a large number of Lesser Horsehoe and Natterers bats.
The big question was how did the bats actually gain access to the workings? We can only surmise that they "flew" down the shaft, then crawled over the fill through a small hole to reach the tunnels!
Above: View from entrance along hand-cut level, towards cross-roads
Credits - Thanks to:
Pim Hill Organic Farm - for allowing us use of their car park
Report, Sketches & Pictures: Peter Eggleston and Kelvin Lake
Bats are known to live in the area, and a lot were found in the workings examined. DO NOT disturb them, particularly during the hibernation season.
Bad Air - mainly Oxygen deficiency has been recorded in this mine.