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Report - Box Freestone Quarry ,wiltshire 2012

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Kwan, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    A bit late posting this one but have been busy eating Christmas cake.

    So the plan was for me and Xan Asmodi to drive the 200 odd miles to Cardiff and stay overnight at the Cunningcorgys house and then next day travel to Box and meet up with Landsker, wonkeycows, DangerousDave, Oxygen Thief, Styru, Sarahsaw, seffyboy, whodareswins, Urbanjunky, Tommo, Phyllis Neptune and Tucker. Some of us were going to do an overnighter in Box having brought camping gear and alcohol a plenty and then explore some more on the sunday before travelling home.

    Alas the sleepover was not to be because of the low temperatures and wet floors underground but I was absolutely made up to finally see Box and some of its Cranes and features, add this to meeting some great people and putting faces to names this was a brilliant weekend and one that I certainly wont forget in a hurry.

    Massive thanks to Cunningcorgy for putting Me and Xan up and providing beer and hospitality and hopefully one day I can repay the him the compliment.

    ...............................................
    History shamelessly lifted from Landskers report.

    Box Freestone Quarry is the largest of the bathstone quarries its name is a combination of its location beneath Box hill and the type of stone it produced. a free stone is one which can be worked with a chisel to produce architectural moldings and tracery. The fine lime stone produced in the Bath area is prime example of a freestone. Quarrying on Box hill dates back to medieval times when the stone was extracted from pits in the hillside where the stone reached the surface. Later quarrying would take place around vertical shafts and it is this method of mining which lead to the construction of one of Box Freestone's most spectacular features, The Cathedral which was quarried via vertical shaft between 1830 and 1850.

    The last section of the quarry to be worked was Cliftworks quarry in the northern district which closed in 1969, These working branched off a single long passage which open out of the hillside at Cliftworks Entrance over looking the A4. The passages in the northern district still retain the largest number of artifacts including number of complete cranes, Stone saws and an intact crab winch. Throughout the Cliftworks passages the floor is uneven with the pits left behind by the rotten sleepers which once supported the rail network in this part of the quarry, Clift works was the most modern part of the quarry with stone hauled out by a small locomotive, a water tank near Cliftworks entrance was built to service the engine and the passage roofs are still stained by the locomotives exhaust.


    I didnt take an awful lot of pictures because I was busy with my video camera so here is the short video.
    [video=youtube;vDd2-B968hU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDd2-B968hU&feature=share&list=UUz_kAZMO3dpeL_LwFkOj7mA[/video]



    Dave in happier times before getting wedged between two rock faces and losing his trollies :)
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    Not what I was expecting to find but amused me no end...yep small minds but was it a landy or a hummer but Vauxhall combivan back door was the popular choice.
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    After getting into Box we headed for the Cathedral, Box seemed nice and friendly to me having not done one like this before but there was some concern over our numbers and the bad condition of the roof in places.
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    So we finally made the Cathedral and this is where we met everyone else, I was pretty impressed by the Cathedral and have to say that it was my fave bit of box, I wondered what was above ground at the Cathedral and how surprised you would be to fall down the hole into the chamber.
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    We encountered a few cranes that were in fantastic condition and looked like they could be straight from a museum.

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    This one was shot by the light of a Carbide lamp that Landsker had brought along
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    This winch was were we stopped for lunch and I discovered the delights of Wonkeycows "eagletac" torches...PHEW!
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    These steps lead up to an iron grate that was locked, they were easy to climb but a cow to get back down again laden with camera gear.
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    A workstation that was complete with some bits of broken saw and measurements
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    We eventually encountered a metal wall that led into some M.O.D installation and we all queued patiently to get through and look, it culminated in a mysterious locked metal door that from behind we could hear Fans or generators running away...strange indeed.
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    After spending a whole day in Box it was time for everyone to part ways and some retired to the pub, some went home but myself, Xan, Dangerous dave and Landsker had to make up our minds if we should stay overnight and due to the conditions underground it was decided against so Oxygen Thief suggested checking out Browns for somewhere to bed down overnight as it was probably drier than Box but it didnt sound so inviting but now with Hindsight I wish we had paid the suggestion some heed as it looks like Browns is no longer accessible so it looks like we probably dipped out.

    On the long trek Home Xan and myself made numerous coffee and wee wee stops and discovered that we still had 2lb of bacon and sausages to dispose of so we had a cook off in the carpark of a service station, food tastes so much nicer when it is fried in butter :)
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    Thanks for looking
     
    #1 The Kwan, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

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