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Report - Box Freestone Mine - Various trips 2015 - 2016

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by b3n, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    I can remember feeling slightly nervous when I first walked into the Quarryman's Arms and asked for the key..

    It shouldn't be this easy surely? 90km of dark passages, the secret red door, so many years of history and hard labor hidden under the earth, and all you have to do is ask the barman for the key?

    "Would you like to buy a map too?"

    Yes it was that easy. I'd spent hours trawling the web to find a survey, get it printed in a usable size and planned a route for our first trip into these catacombs. I could have just followed the guide on the back.

    But this didn't really make us any less trepid about our trip below ground. I'd done bunkers galore, spent hours in ROTOR installations and tunnels, but here there was not just a chance of getting lost - it was a certainty.

    The stone around Box was first mined in times of the Roman occupation and the mine system has gradually extended in a fairly chaotic pattern since. Work stopped in the 1970's although certain parts were disused far before this. The site is famous for bordering on Burlington's 'underground city' the vast network of Tunnel and Spring quarry taken over by the military as a command centre should it be needed.

    We were fully prepared for our trip with helmets, headtorches, spare torches and left details and times with a friend as we unbolted Backdoor and snaked through the entrance crawl. The passageway opened up quickly and we check the map and compass, it's that way! Cathedral's the first stop....

    Andddddd we're lost.

    That first trip wasn't a failure by any means but of the planned route around central and northern box? Maybe we managed 5%.

    I've been to Box Mines countless times since, got the bug. I feel at home stopping into the Quarryman's for a pint to discuss the day's events. I've learnt my way around. I've learnt that no matter how well you know the mines you will get lost in North West central. I've learnt the real essentials for mine exploration are actually cheese and red wine.

    There is always another trip planned. I fucking love this place.

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    From a trip in December i think, was this some of you?

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  2. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    Oh for anyone planning a trip the Quarryman's arn't handing out the key anymore you need to take your own. They still have maps tho.
     
  3. ledgehammer

    ledgehammer 28DL Regular User
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    very nice...

    shame about they key, although probably a good thing in truth...

    S0D
     
  4. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    Yep, the guy in the Quarryman's was saying they are being sued by some girl who managed to sprain her ankle down there!

    I'm sure sanity will prevail but can't blame them for not wanting to be so involved any more. Current system where the key is available if you know what you need seems like the best option to me!
     
  5. silentwalker

    silentwalker 28DL Regular User
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    Great set of pics and report fella :thumb finally getting round to heading up there soon and have everything sorted for it, bloke in the pub is really friendly! and I can vouch the key situation is true, he doesn't hand it out anymore but is a very helpful person :D
     
  6. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    Cheers mate! Just got my first proper camera so itching to get down there soon for more shots.. Sounds like your well prepared so i'm sure you'll have a great time..There's loads of useful stuff on darkplaces too. Maybe i'll bump into you down there!
     
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  7. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Great photos mate, thanks for posting them :thumb
     
  8. professor frink

    professor frink Pro Snorer Skiff
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    I always find the hardest bit is on the way out getting from cathedral to back door. Box is always a good place to visit.
     
  9. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Nicely done, cheers for posting :thumb
     
  10. mw0sec

    mw0sec 28DL Full Member
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    The Quarrymans arms & maps reminds me of what was nearly a big mistake. We had told a friend we were doing Ridge, which we did. After that, stopped for some lunch at the pub and they had just got in some updated maps. We thought we would just quickly check out a detail close to Jacks entrance before going home. Of course we got lost - as you do, but then the lamps started to dim. My thoughts at the time was not the fear of being stuck in the dark, but the embarrassment caused by someone searching Ridge for us! Fortunately we had just enough charge left to get out. The moral is - if you tell someone where you're going, don't go somewhere entirely different!
     
  11. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    And remember to call them when you get out!

    I was in Cwmorthin a few months ago doing some some SRT practice with some mates, we'd let someone know the time we were due out ect.. Sat in the barn later on and suddenly get a VERY worried phone call :confused: Totally forgot! Luckily they hadn't called anyone out yet!
     
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  12. Squidmaster

    Squidmaster 28DL Member
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    SLIGHTLY IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE BOX MINE

    I've been a bit or a lurker on this site, never a poster, but the information here has been really useful in finding interesting sites. I felt I should post in this one though, after a recent visit to Box Mine.
    I was there about a month ago, and managed to get and have a great time shooting a short film (getting kit in was great fun).

    BUT, I went back for more of an explore this past weekend (early May 2016) and found the site blocked. The path approaching the mine entrance (the Back Door) now has a brand new fence about halfway down, and various strategically placed large logs and branch barricades blocking access. We tried for a little while, but found no way through. It looks like the Back Door is now completely inaccessible.

    There is another cave-like entrance which is accessible, however this one is extremely unsafe, and the entrance is covered in warning signs warning of just this. I don't advise going through there at all. Unless you're an idiot.


    I say again, as of the beginnning of May 2016, the BACK DOOR ENTRANCE, which I understand to be the most common entrance and easiest access to the Cathedral, has now been blocked.
     
  13. boomtown1

    boomtown1 28DL Full Member
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    Backdoor is NOT blocked
    Yeah Theyve put a little fence up but there's a nice gap next to it to get through without any issue
    The fencing is just to deter people who aren't willing to be imaginative !!
     
    #13 boomtown1, May 10, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2016
  14. b3n

    b3n onehundredandthirtythree
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    Whilst backdoor is is still accessible I think it would be best if people try and use jacks for the time being? The land owner is obviously pissed off at the moment and there's no point in exasperating the situation if it can be helped.. Maybe if there's a bit less traffic traipsing through their garden an access agreement can be sorted in the future..
     
  15. scoobysnack147

    scoobysnack147 28DL Member
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    Hi,
    I want to get down there but when I've been to the one near the pub there is a big wooden fence and a camera.
    Where is Jacks as I've been in woods and there seems to be lots of places that looks like entrances.

    What's the one in the trees Down the lane near the new housing like and does it have cameras or alarms?
     
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