1. Welcome to 28DaysLater.co.uk - 28DL - The UK Urban Exploring / Urban Exploration / Urbex Forums.

    Asylums and Hospitals, High Stuff, Industrial, Leisure Sites, Residential Sites, Military Sites, Mines and Quarries, ROC Posts, Theatres and Cinemas, Draining, Underground Sites, European and International Sites, Leads, Rumours and News, Kit, Clothing, Equipment, Photography and Video sections plus a lot more.

    Please feel free to browse this website as a guest. Creating an account removes some ads, allows you to post replies, start new topics and threads, and gives you access to more features including bookmarking, live chat, messaging and notification systems.

    Create an account | Login | Request new password

Report - Facit Stone Mine - Haslingden - November 2014

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Lone Ranger, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    734
    Home Page:
    Facit Stone Mine – Haslingden

    [​IMG]

    History

    Facit Mine taps into the Haslingden series of sandstone deposits, a quite hard rock, which was used for paving flags, machine beds, construction and later hardcore and aggregate for motorway construction

    Some quarries in the area are now reopened with small scale production of flag stones and other products. Despite the abundance of quarries in the area : Facit, Britannia, Lands, Abraham etc; mine workings are very common – as the best stone is often found under thousands of tons of overburden and inferior stone – known as “ feight “, so adits were sunk and the stone excavated from pillar and stall workings

    Tramways remains that carried the stone down to the valley floor cross ever hill and in the late 19th century , the rail line from Accrington to Rochdale was opened – allowing ease of transport .

    These days the quarries seem to be used for off-road vehicles and motorbikes, most if not all will be totally unaware of what lurks below.

    General History on the Pillar and Stall Technique

    ‘It is not generally known that drifts are now made underground for the purpose of stone getting, but such is the fact, and this kind of work renders the life of the quarrymen doubly dangerous. This mode of mining, however, obviates the removing of considerable amount of “bearing,” which would otherwise be very necessary. In times past, they thought little of bearing or cutting away earth to the depth of 20 or 30 feet, if thereby plenty of good stone could be afterwards procured; but the undermining system now adopted has rendered much excavation unnecessary.’

    The layers of Haslingden Flags outcropping on the valley tops and sides were in great demand to pave the streets of Victorian towns and cities. In many places the flags outcrop on the moor top and moor edge close to surface, and large open excavations are obvious. Where the best layers of flag (often named ‘lonkey’) are deeper below surface or lower down the valley side then tunnels are driven and large scale ‘pillar and stall’ mining was carried out. Attempting to move thick overburden without mining would have been expensive and time consuming as modern earth moving machinery did not come into use until the early 1900s.

    What remains in the hillsides are tunnel entrances to a grid –pattern complex of vast chambers separated by pillars of rock at frequent intervals to support the roof. To create the chambers, the rock getters would pick out a weaker layer above the best stone. Often working on their sides with only shoulder height to move in, they would excavate a narrow ledge to create a working space, then work downwards on the strong rock with wedges and crowbars. Both the Lower and Upper Haslingden Flags were mined and distribution is widespread.

    Our earliest records of stone mines are from the 1820s at Tong End Pasture, Whitworth; but they probably reached their peak from the 1870s onwards. Many of the larger mines closed before the First World War, although other proprietors continued until the 1930s.

    My Visit

    I have wanted to visit this mine for a few years now, snow stopped my last attempt a couple of years ago.

    I have spoken to a couple of people who have been down, one vows never to visit the place again, the 2nd a very experienced caver managed to get lost for a bit and had concerns about the air quality in some of the sections. A brief Google before setting off found quite a lot of comments regarding how unstable the mine is, so what could possibly go wrong!

    A quick wander around the quarries I found a suitable opening and disappeared underground, it soon became apparent that the walls were made of Weetabix.

    [​IMG]

    What was also evident was the floor profile profiled the shape of the roof, now was that due to rock fall? I was beginning to think these stories were true.

    [​IMG]

    Once you’ve been in for a bit, you get use to what looks potentially like hanging death, after all I’ve rock climbed on some of the local quarries and the rock isn’t that much better (mind you that’s Lancashire Gritstone for you).

    [​IMG]

    Having not known what to expect and having heard it was also a maze of tunnels I had brought paper and a pencil to draw a rough drawing, it was at this point I was glad that I had, tunnels splitting off in all directions.

    [​IMG]

    I don’t know if the rock had got any better at this point or just that I had got used to it, but I could hear the sound of running water, on turning the corner I found the source of the noise; a small stream coming through a hole in the roof, daylight was also visible and a sign saying exit made me think that was the trip over, well apart from the many side passages I had bypassed on the way here.

    [​IMG]

    There was also a helpful sign saying death on one of the side tunnels which I thought would be worth avoiding.

    [​IMG]

    Also lurking in this section was the remains of either a cow or horses head, possibly it had ventured down that side tunnel or this mine had once been a hideout of the Mafia.

    [​IMG]

    A nice prop, so tried a bit of artiness.

    [​IMG]

    Looking up at the source of the daylight and stream.

    [​IMG]

    Every trip if you have time deserves a selfie; it also shows the general scale of the tunnels. There were only a couple of stoops in all the sections I visited, with the odd section higher and a few more open areas.

    [​IMG]

    I soon picked up another larger adit rather than surfacing at the hole, old timber trusses still holding up the roof. There were many side passages leading off the main adit appearing to join with other larger adits in various states of collapse.

    Having not read up too much about this mine and the techniques used to construct it, I had my Eureka moment at this point, I considered the whole system was on some kind of grid system, the many pillars and side tunnels I had passed made up this endless grid.

    [​IMG]

    Another timber roof prop, not really propping anymore.

    [​IMG]

    One thing that becomes apparent is the amount of markings, bits of string and symbols whick mark the way, where to I don’t know though. Some of the string now lies under rock falls, parts of markings have fallen way or again buried by rock falls and some I feel may just be red herrings.

    [​IMG]

    The sound of running water gets stronger, following it takes me up a steep scree slope to a small cavern where an old water tank fills from the drips through the roof.

    [​IMG]

    There’s also the remains of old scaffold and corrugated iron sheets, possibly an old shelter at one point?

    [​IMG]

    The water tank had a nice outflow, worth standing in the deluge of drips to capture.

    [​IMG]

    After a few hours down here and running out of paper to draw my map I was glad to see this, looking at the floor this section had been well travelled.

    [​IMG]

    20 minutes later this was the last sign I saw, the labyrinth was getting more complicated it seemed and I had lost track with my map.

    [​IMG]

    A quick skirt around and even though there were plenty of way marks, bits of string and trodden passages I made the decision to retrace the way I’d come in as none gave the confidence it would lead me to an exit.

    I was pretty glad that I did as I passed the remains of these barrels on the way out.

    [​IMG]

    Getting back was a lot quicker, but was glad when I did see light at the end of the tunnel, all in all I was down the mine for 3 ½ hours.

    [​IMG][/URL]

    As for my map, I’m glad I took the time to scribble some key features, it also gave me a sense of scale as there was so much that I just walked past, who knows I could have been 50 meters from the exit when I turned back.

    [​IMG]

    Well that was it for this visit, I’ll no doubt be back in the near future as I didn’t find the underground crane and there are so many passages to explore.

    Did it live up to all the horror stories I had heard of this mine? Well it is a bit loose in places, and the ground underfoot is a bit precarious at times. I had no issues with air quality. I think the main problem down here is just the vast size and complex nature of the tunnels, it’s hard to quantify this; best I can do is add this I found while researching the mine afterwards

    “it is well known for been hard to navigate and there has been various cave rescues from here, the best been in 1989 when a group managed to end up stuck in there for 3 days after taking a wrong turn”

    Be warned and don’t trust my map, I ended coming out in Grimsby ;)

    Cheers,

    TLR.​
     
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014

    Remove this ad by donating or subscribing.

  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,839
    Likes Received:
    1,524
    It's a facitnating place :D

    Serious though plenty to see, it's huge I've been a few times now and far from seen it all

    It's also death on a stick in parts, and I personally think it should have some kind of 'controlled' access for that reason alone..

    Good to see again and also a lot of those markers look new as nothing like that when I last poked about down there, albeit a few years back probably now
     
  3. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    734
    Home Page:
    It's a great place, have a feeling the markers are constantly changing depending what they are attached to or below ;)
     
  4. Morrisey

    Morrisey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    43
    Something about this place that gives me the heebie jeebies, seems to have a bad atmosphere about it. I've never been more glad to see daylight after spending many hours wandering around lost. Having said that there are some great areas to see in the North West area of the mine, there's a nice wooden crane with cut stone at the side of it and further in where the mine is more stable you can actually see the floor, complete with rails along with some nice pack walls.

    You deserve a medal for going in here on your jack.
     
  5. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,839
    Likes Received:
    1,524
    LOL, I'm glad I didn't get the call as swore I'd never go back in that place! :D
     
  6. Morrisey

    Morrisey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    43
    I'd cut my legs and arms off to avoid going back in there!:eek:
     
  7. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    734
    Home Page:
    I did have my doubts initially and would have bailed at any point, in the end I did. The initial bit seemed the worse, but if you pick the wrong way there is a lot of hanging death plus the odd drop.

    I'm happy sometimes on my own and somewhere like this was good to do at my pace and not get distracted and only have me to worry about, shit hits the fan I had a couple of folk on standby if I didn't get the wife and kids tea on the table :D

    Glad you didn't too ;)

    You fancy another visit at some point, I'd like to find the crane :)
     
  8. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,839
    Likes Received:
    1,524
    Ok, you've twisted my arm, there is another entrance which drops you there, it's a bugger to find and infact I might still have the OS map Morrisey once sent me for that, as buggered if I can remember where it exactly is these days
     
  9. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    1,646
    Nice ones mate :thumb

    Enjoyed that cheers :)
     
  10. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    434
    Nice one, great report!
     
  11. Altair

    Altair Poking holes since '84
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    64
    Excellent report TLR. really like the look of this one, even though it does look as shady as f*ck in places!
     
  12. catbalou

    catbalou off the wall
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    56
    wow, that looks fantastic.... and judging by your map, a veritable labyrinth. Fab report as usual TLR
     
  13. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    734
    Home Page:
    Thanks all :thumb

    It was an eye opener once inside just how vast this place, you could probably spend the best part of a week in here and not see it all. I have since read there's an estimated 120Km of passages! Whether that's true I don't know, but given the grid formation and the distance I went all I know is there's a hell of a lot of passages :D
     
  14. Rik UE

    Rik UE 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2013
    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    25
    A great report, never ever done a mine before, but this looks great, even if it is a death trap in places, shames its in Lancs.....
     
  15. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,493
    Likes Received:
    576
    Home Page:
    ah there you go was a closed thread just now..Looks bloody lovely mate if a little dodgy,but the map you made looks good to me
     
Draft saved Draft deleted
Loading...

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 0)

Share This Page

Remove this ad by creating an account and logging in