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Report - Harford Hills Chalk Mine, Norwich, Norfolk, Jan '12

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Cracked, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Cracked

    Cracked 28DL Regular User
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    Seeing as it’s been popping up on the boards lately with talk, but no recent explores, I thought I should go check out the mine for myself. Armed with a camera, tripod, selection of torches, home made torch filters made from sweet wrappers and a big bag of sweets. It was my first underground explore, and surprisingly enjoyable, even if the scenery wasn’t exactly inspiring. Playing around with lighting was good fun, even if it’s a bit tacky compared with some people’s standards.

    Norwich was mined for chalk and flints from the Middle Ages until the beginning of WW2 but some of the chalk mines are much older, the earliest are believed to date from the 12th century. The oldest mines are located closest to the centre of Norwich and more mines were dug further out as the city grew. The chalk was used for liming in agriculture and in building mortar. The flints that can be seen embedded in layers in the chalk were used to build the city's walls and some of Norwich's finest buildings such as the Guildhall. The last chalk mine to close was at Harford Hills, to the south of Norwich. There are no detailed maps of all the mines located within the city boundary but it is known that the great majority were privately owned and dug between the 12th and 18th centuries, at times when record keeping was not thought necessary. The only existing records date from later times when the Council documented the locations where collapses have occurred that were deemed to be due to mine workings. The site of this chalk quarry is now a woodland and has, over the years, been transformed into one of eight local nature reserves in Norwich.

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