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Report - Box freestone mine, Wiltshire 04/04/2015

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Kentish curiosity, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Kentish curiosity

    Kentish curiosity 28DL Full Member
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    Here is a bit of history on the mine which forgot to put up like a idiot

    Box Quarry is by far the biggest and most complex of all the Bath Stone mines, it is in fact the largest stone mine in the country with many miles of interconnecting passages.

    Stone had been quarried from Box Hill since medieval times using open pits but the extent of the stone was unknown until Isambard Kingdom Brunel came in to town. Brunel built his tunnel through the hill which was completed in 1841. While his many men blasted their way through the hill they became aware of the vast quantities of good quality Bath Stone.

    Soon after building the tunnel several local companies started to mine the stone commercially, these companies were Pictors, Nobles and Stones. The mines evolved in a haphazard manner and pass over the top of Box Tunnel. Many of the mines ran in to each other underground causing the huge labyrinth of tunnels we have left behind today.

    This is my first ever report so go easy on me.......


    We headed across to box mine from Maidstone halfway around the dreaded M25 on a bank holiday surprisingly enough we made it to the Quarrymans Arms with no hiccups. urbex 367.JPG urbex 374.JPG

    We went in and asked about the key to the back door and the guys behind the bar were very helpful, we purchased all three maps (£6 each but worth every penny) and left the £10 deposit for the key. After gathering some more info from the barman (who worked as an engineer for the mine) we sunk a quick pint each for Dutch courage and headed back out to gear up.


    After a bag check me, Doozer and Little John headed down to the back door entrance and had a quick smoke before entering. We were going to try and crack the central map today. urbex 443.JPG urbex 442.JPG urbex 360.JPG

    It started with a little crawl through the entrance and then opened up to a large junction area. We took in our surroundings, checked the map and compass (which none of us had any experience with) and headed down one of the passages and into another smaller junction. After about 1 minute of walking we were lost.....after some discussion we decided to follow the markings on the wall which read cath or "cathedral" which we was all excited to see. The route took us over some large falls and some piles of dreads which were slippery as f***. 45 minutes later we reached the cathedral which was pretty amazing, the place is immense! After the cathedral we stumbled across the robot room, which was a room full of red brick arrangements. urbex 279.JPG urbex 285.JPG urbex 287.JPG urbex 297.JPG iphone 677.JPG urbex 300.JPG urbex 302.JPG urbex 304.JPG

    All of us were interested in the MOD area which was not marked on the map. Doozer done a bit of digging before we left and had the rough location. Now knowing where we were on the map we used it to plan a route to the bunker. When we arrived we were met by warnings saying no loitering, dangerous gases, cctv and unsafe roof. We naturally ignored these warnings and proceeded to find a solid steel red door. View attachment 1202 urbex 343.JPG

    We could hear the bunker whirring and basically ticking over and seems to still be in use. After some time trying to find our way around the red door we gave up and had lunch.


    Now we had the task of trying to find our way out and back to the back door. The box mines is a labyrinth full of junctions, passages and dead ends, 90km worth to be exact and we pretty much fluked it all the way back to the exit only losing our bearings once or twice. Then back to the Quarrymans for a well-earned pint. We still had to find a place to set up camp for the night ... iphone 634.JPG urbex 322.JPG urbex 331.JPG urbex 334.JPG View attachment 1207 urbex 383.JPG

    On our last day we had the choice of the southern or northern section; we chose the nothern section because there were still remains of the mine workings and abandoned cranes and tools to see, so we headed back down. A major roof fall blocked the main route so we bypassed the fall with a bit of crawling and climbing and connected back up with the main route (can’t remember the name) On our travels we also stumbled across a stunning set of stairs which led up to an air shaft with some big arse ladder up to floor height. There were lots of signs of workings with massive two man hand saws halfway through massive chunks of limestone. Remains of an old cart/train track laid indented into the ground. We reached a massive stash of miner’s tools and a large crane which was propping up most of the roof. iphone 641.JPG iphone 639.JPG iphone 649.JPG urbex 431.JPG

    At this point, time and batteries was our enemy; we still had a long drive ahead of us so we decided to start heading back knowing we could still get seriously lost. We found our way back to cathedral by chance and knew our way out from there..
    urbex 425.JPG urbex 426.JPG
    All in all the box mines is a great place to visit; buy the maps and a compass and get yourself down there. Kentish Curiosity, over and out.
    urbex 392.JPG
    Another great expore with Doozer and Lil John.
     

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    #1 Kentish curiosity, Apr 6, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    Palisade, Scrub2000, Hydro and 6 others like this.

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  2. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Bit of a picture fail mate.
     
  3. Kentish curiosity

    Kentish curiosity 28DL Full Member
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    Is it sorted now? you wouldnt belive the hassle i had!
     
  4. Kentish curiosity

    Kentish curiosity 28DL Full Member
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    Is it sorted now? you wouldnt belive the hassle i had!
     
  5. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Just checking the cars registrations now to see if any belong to you :)

    You need some History of the Mines for your report mate, also delete the duplicate & blurry pics & probably the repetitive ones & the WTF? ones and jobs a good un :thumb

    3 handsome men down a dark hole ;)
     
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  6. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Most of them are working mate, but as said, just junk the blurry ones, they add little value.
     
  7. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Cool stuff :thumb looks like you had a fun time
     
  8. Maniac

    Maniac rebmeM LD82
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    You explored it, properly, no one guided you so props for that - it's a big place to explore if you've never been in it before.
     
  9. Kentish curiosity

    Kentish curiosity 28DL Full Member
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    Hi thanks for the heads up i will add the history tomorrow i can only see one blurry photo or am i being a idiot ?
     
  10. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Well done on your first trip to Box! We never actually got to Cath on our first attempt but that had more to do with going into the wrong hole! Btw cath should take about 5-10 mins from backdoor...

    and this is what one of the red doors should look like.

    [​IMG]

    You don't want to see the other red door pics I have as there's a scary naked man in front of it
     
    #10 Oort, Apr 6, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
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  11. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Glad to see you pulled this off, and that you found the red door I gave you the location of :rolleyes:.

    Getting lost after one minute was quite good, it's normally about 30 seconds, literally just as you go over the first obstacle on the left.

    No doubt the idiots from other websites will be critical of your endeavors, but you had the maps, compasses, decent clothing and preparation. Hopefully see you down there some time.
     
  12. Kentish curiosity

    Kentish curiosity 28DL Full Member
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    Hi thanks for the heads up i will add the history tomorrow i can only see one blurry photo or am i being a idiot ?
     
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  13. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Lol, that sounds familiar.
     
  14. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Have a gander at the myriad of other reports from Box to get an idea of photo quality.
     
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  15. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Cool, good job :thumb
     
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