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Report - Lower Balls Green Quarry, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire - October 2016

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Bertie Bollockbrains, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    A smallish quarry in Gloucestershire that has interesting features, lots of cut stone, a crab winch and an infamous tipping tub. It has appeared on these forums once before in 2014 - but that was a permission visit in which tripods were not allowed.

    HISTORY

    Not much online. The early history of these quarries is vague. Presumably quarrying of the fine oolite stone has been carried on at the outcrop since Roman times. Due to the steep hillsides, the overburden soon became too great and thus they went underground. There are a number of small scale developments. According to a 90 year old inhabitant of Nailsworth, a Mr William Mortimer who died in 1970, such places were worked in the winter months by cottagers employed in casual agricultural work during the summer.

    REPORT

    The passages are higher than the mines of Wiltshire
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    A feature christened as the mushroom pillar
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    Historical graffiti
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    At the furthest point, about 350m in, is a loading bay with lots of cut stone
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    And a crab winch - to the best of my knowledge for this part of the world only 3 exist (Westwood, Box and this one)
    [​IMG]

    But this is the main attraction - it's a very rare WDLR (War Department Light Railways) skip. To people like us it does look like a bog standard skip, but rail enthusiasts get very excited over this skip - so much so that a few years back railway enthusiasts removed parts from this very skip for use in the restoration of another skip on the surface somewhere. This caused much friction from the caving community and was a big controversy at the time.
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    You will see on my photos that a note has been placed on the skip and I have transcribed the contents of that note below. My intention is not to resurrect a controversy that has long since died down but only so that those involved who have not seen this message now have the chance to read it. In my opinion, the vandalism that I have seen in the Wiltshire mines is much worse.

    "From the research work undertaken, it is estimated that this truck dates from the 1920s - one of thousands built during the period. This example shows the evidence of having seen a lot of heavy use during its active career until marooned here; one of the body support stanchions is a 'homemade' replacement (presumed by the mine) and the wheelcarts are different to each other (indicating significant damage/wear during use).

    Although similiar to many other wagons, this vehicle differs a little in the construction method used. This specific variant of truck has not survived the passage of time well. Only a very small number of very incomplete examples remain on the surface, as wagons of this type are generally used as tools until they fall apart, scrapped and then replaced with another.

    During a personal research visit during 2012, two parts of this wagon were temporarily recovered to ensure accuracy (over and above drawings) of replicated parts in advance of the restoration of an incomplete survivor on the surface - thus allowing continued representation of this type. The original parts of this wagon have been returned, following some repair works and preparation for re-attachment.

    I am sorry for any concern or upset caused by this action - at any time, my personal desire for accuracy in drawings/parts in this one-off instance over-rode my own moral standards of leaving items alone. I deeply regret my poor judgement to remove parts from this abandoned wagon, which was done with the best of intentions and not for any personal gain. With the benefit of hindsight this should never have happened. I have let myself down and those around me. This is something I never want to repeat again.

    While not excusing the works, to bring something positive out of this deeply regrettable action, and as a mark of respect to the importance of miners and their work in mines such as this, a personal donation of £500 has subsequently been made to the national 'Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation' (charity) in the name of 'Lower Balls Mine'.

    With regret,
    {name withheld} (Moseley Railway Trust)"
     
    clebby, Lenston, Lil'Legs and 3 others like this.

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  2. Salmon

    Salmon 28DL Full Member
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    Fantastic photos. I enjoyed reading the report. Thank you.
     
    clebby likes this.
  3. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Good day out that.
     
  4. Raz

    Raz 28DL Regular User
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    Interesting read! Is the crab winch the same as the one in the chert mine in bakewell?
     
  5. silentwalker

    silentwalker 28DL Regular User
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    Great write up man, love that mushroom pillar!
     
    Porker of the night likes this.
  6. espchris

    espchris On the go all ways
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    Great right up and great photos
     
  7. Norman31

    Norman31 28DL Member
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    Great photos, been down myself on an organised tour. My great grandfather worked down both balls green quarries from the early 1900s to till when they closed. He came from a quarrying family in colerne , Wiltshire. Sadly don't know much else.
     
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