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Report - Upper Balls Green Freestone Mine, Nailsworth - Sep 2014

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Oort, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Visit to Upper Balls Green Mine in Nailsworth, due to the nature of the mine and the fact that it is owned by The National Trust this was definitely not a permission visit.


    History:

    Other than being a freestone mine I can find very little information about this online, if anyone has a good source could they let me know?

    Theres been quite a lot of effort to block this one up completely. Originally a very sturdy grate was installed to the main entrance and the crawl entrance about 3 feet away had been concreted over but some enterprising young soul decided to dynamite some of the rock off the grate and gain access, this was swiftly patched up with more grate and the site became inaccessible again. Another enterprising soul took it upon themselves to smash all the concrete off the crawl entrance and no one has bothered to redo it. Access is very easy just a bit of a tight squeeze for 5 or 6 feet but then it opens up in the main passage.

    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 to 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.

    Source: THE ROYAL FOREST OF DEAN CAVING CLUB NEWS LETTER No 34 (JULY / AUGUST 1971)

    Visit:

    After the success of Lower Balls Green our appetite was whetted for the upper one, hearing stories that it's very dangerous and unstable we initially thought it probably wouldn't be a good idea but after talking to a caving guy eho had been in there in the last year who said it was fine we decided to take a chance and have a go.

    Once we got in there we realised that some parts of the mine are very unstable and some of the ceilings resembled crazy paving they were so fractured. suffice to say we didn't spend much time in those parts. Other bits look completely safe and very strong.

    This mine a quite a bit prettier than Lower Balls Green and has an extremely good example of a crane at the end of one passage and the very pretty Calcite Walk. Apart from the crane there is very little equipment or evidence of any mining left.

    This is one mine I was actually very glad to be out of in one piece and I doubt I will be going back again its pretty small and we did just about everything of note in there. Walking under that stone will stay with me for a while I think.

    Photos.


    Pics: Tallrich

    Crane

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Me posing for comedy photo
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    Crushed Crane (this was directly behind intact one and the ceiling was proper scary around this section)
    [​IMG]

    I said stand still!
    [​IMG]

    Sleepers but no tracks anymore
    [​IMG]

    the roof is pretty bad. In a lot of places there were aging wooden support posts:
    [​IMG]

    One of the surviving sections of track:
    [​IMG]

    Ourtcloud taking snaps of stalactites
    [​IMG]

    Pics: Ourtcloud

    Said stalactites picture
    [​IMG]

    Calcite walk entrance
    [​IMG]

    Calcite walk
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Poached eggs
    [​IMG]

    Men or mice moment
    [​IMG]

    Fall!
    [​IMG]

    My only decent crane pic
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking!

    Full set of pics is here http://the-lockup.co.uk/upper-balls-green-mine-nailsworth-september-2014/
     
    AltCoyne likes this.

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  2. TheTimeChamber

    TheTimeChamber The other one
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    Now that is lovely, cranes like that are ace!
     
    smithnweston likes this.
  3. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    This one is particularly ace as its holding up the ceiling!
     
    smithnweston likes this.
  4. FaZy_UK

    FaZy_UK 28DL Regular User
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    Nice find, and nice report. Looks good in there!
     
  5. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Bloody good pics,looks an interesting if dangerous place!
     
  6. wormster

    wormster 28DL Full Member
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    AY!*not bad photoskillz!
     
  7. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Thanks! beginning to get the hang of light painting.
     
  8. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    This is gorgeous mate, but fecking bejeezus a hard hat wouldn't save you, Thanks for sharing it :thumb
    [​IMG]
     
    Oort likes this.
  9. ThomasLong

    ThomasLong 28DL Full Member
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    Hi,
    Those are some great pictures of that mine. I live just up the road from there, but there are many mines around here and in the fullness of time I intend to map them(Google Maps). I am not sure if you are correct when you say that mine is owned by the National Trust what is your reference for that ?
    I have some pictures of Upper Balls Green Mine which I will digout. I was taken very deep down this mine by one of the local lads, I have no experince of caving but I am a good judge of chracter and my guide was the sort of young man you want by your side when things go pear shaped and he and other local lads had grown up exploring these mines, he told me they lost one kid down there for two days and I suspect there is an element of truth in that story. He was trying to take me to the working face where the tracks are intact and there is apparently a wagon and alot of stone cut ready to go. To get there you need to climb through a roof collapse gap of about 2.5 feet(ish) to crawl through. Right I am 55 and arthritis was ripping through my body at the time plus I am clostrophbic as F@@K and I just couldnt do it, but now that I am better and with a proper team I would love another go :-)
     
    #9 ThomasLong, Jun 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  10. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking stuff,
    Looks awesome :thumb
     
  11. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Might be English Heritage I always get them confused. Do you know anything about the small mine on the Double U hill road?
     
  12. ThomasLong

    ThomasLong 28DL Full Member
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    I was told at the local parish council office in Minchinhampton that a man named Arthur Price owned at least the mining rights and I got the impression the land on which the entrance stood, I was given a phone number about three years ago but only followed it up the other day and the number was discontinued. If you query google it is evident that Arthur Price is something to do with stone industry http://www.gsia.org.uk/reprints/1995/gi199503.pdf but maybe the council offices are wrong. I will get the gps co ordinates and do a land registry query.

    DSC02321.JPG

    DSC02323.JPG

    DSC02324.JPG
     
    #12 ThomasLong, Jun 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  13. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Thats Lower Balls.
     
  14. Bagpuss35

    Bagpuss35 28DL Member
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    Nice photos, my great grandfather I believe worked in both mines at balls green. Lovely to see :)
     
  15. ThomasLong

    ThomasLong 28DL Full Member
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    OK I was told wrong then or I miss-understood. I posted this thread in facebook in a local closed group and got this response:
    Tom if you are interested, I have maps of the two Rockness mines and info on others. The entrance to the larger is sort of in a private space as Martin says, but the owner seems relaxed about it and I have the lock key code if I can find it. There are also the mines behind the Amberley scout hut and many more. I started mapping them out about 20 years ago but never remotely finished.
    So I will post back to here if I get anywhere with that.
    If that is Lower Balls Green Mine https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir//.../@51.7010882,-2.1928245,16z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e2 where is upper
     
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