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Report - - Bathampton Mines: Singleway, Devil’s and Collapse, Bath, Somerset – May/June 2017 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bathampton Mines: Singleway, Devil’s and Collapse, Bath, Somerset – May/June 2017


Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
These small workings are under-reported on here, with just one report dating from 2007, so I thought I would give an update. They are located in the vicinity of Bath University.

Whilst this report features three separate mines, it is not exhaustive of what is at Bathampton as other workings exist. The entrance to the Seven Sisters mine was blown up by the army in the 1960s and has never been relocated (and caving clubs have looked for it). Another small working was used as a hideout for a World War Two Auxiliary Patrol but is not covered in this report.

Initially did on my own but revisited with @Lenston as I was caught at Singleway by a Golf Club groundsman and I cried and needed a hand to hold.

HISTORY

In 1730 Allan began to develop new quarries at Hampton Down and made roads and tramways. After this, not much is recorded until 1808 when the Hampton Down Quarry reopened, presumably to provide stone to relay the Kennet and Avon Canal as the initial stone here (from Bradford on Avon, Winsley, Westwood etc) was wrongly selected and laid. An incline was made covering the 800 yards from Bathampton Quarries to the canal, sometime within the next two years, as in 1810 the canal was completed. Allan made the great quarry at Hampton Down an open working.

The tram road built circa 1810 had a 1 in 5 gradient and the alignment is still visible. It reached the canal near Holecombe Farm and crossed the Bath – Warminster road by a “dry arch” bridge. Unfortunately this bridge was removed in the 1960s due to road widening.

The Hampton Down Quarries were worked for a short time in 1810 by the Kennet and Avon Canal Company for constructing docks etc, but it was found all the best stone had been exhausted, only the inferior kind being left. The stone was soon worked out from here and the mine roofs became very dangerous. In fact the quarry and railroad were disused by 1847 if not earlier. In 1962, the Territorial Army sealed off all the old mine entrances by blasting them. Today gruffy ground remains.

A few mines remain today on Hampton Down. Singleway Mine is fairly straightforward, 1300’ long. There are signs of old cart/rail tracks and crane holes in the roof. Collapse Mine is very short and is probably part of the now closed Seven Sisters Mine. Devils Cave is about 1000’ long and more complex than Singleway. The passages are generally bigger with some pillars left. Part of it may have been a separate mine as there is a second entrance, now choked.

There are various old quarry sites remaining, as it seems that most of the area has been worked.

REPORT

1. Devil’s Cave

About 1000ft long and actually quite complex with crawling on deads required to reach all parts. Due to the prevalence of modern graffiti and litter it has obviously been visited by lots of students from the university.

An old historical photo c.1920. It doesn’t look like this anymore as the place is thick forest these days.
25%20-%20Historical%20Photo_zpsuu7jn2pw.jpg


The entrance tunnel involves about 40m of stooping
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But then it opens out
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Lots of old archaeologically important petroglyphs in here, possibly dating from Neolithic times. It is impossible for an amateur like me to work out what the Ancients are trying to tell us here so I have sent this photo to the experts at English Heritage. But they haven’t replied back yet.
41%20-%20Devils%20Cave_zpspzzpywoj.jpg


An ancient artefact assumed to be a chariot dating from Roman times, possibly 1st century A.D. The colours suggest that it is dedicated to Sainsburatus, the Roman God of Shopping. I have reported my archaeological findings to the experts at the British Museum. But they too haven’t replied back yet.
38%20-%20Devils%20Cave_zpsgq0lxmyx.jpg


2. Collapse Mine

Very short and located near to the missing Seven Sisters Mine (the one whose entrance was blown up in the 1960s). It could actually be part of Seven Sisters. Totally uninteresting to be honest

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3. Singleway

Located in the middle of the golf course and for that reason, stealth is needed to access the mine. It took me two attempts to get here. Its entrance was once blocked due to a natural rock fall, but was reopened in 2009 by members of a caving website. Today it is rarely visited and there is debate on caving forums as to if it is still open. Well yes it is!

Looking back to the entrance. A huge rockfall once blocked the entrance. A small crawl to the right of this photo, opened in 2009, is now the way in.
02_zpsc33f4us8.jpg


The roof is unstable and progress involves climbing over lots of falls.
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Get deeper into the mine, and the pathway becomes clear, with trams marks and crane holes in the ceilings.
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Note the haulage marks on the left of this photo
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Collected artifacts
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Graffiti walls at the furthest points in
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Finally I’m trying to recreate the selfie pose that is done well by others in this forum. With me it doesn’t work and I’m not sure why.
16_zpsjq8igelv.jpg


4. The Tramway

Running steeply up through the forest from the Kennet and Avon Canal are remains of the c.1810 tramway. Today it is part of the National Trust’s Bath Skyline circular walk.
18%20-%20Inclined%20Tramway_zpsdwisldis.jpg


20%20-%20Inclined%20Tramway_zpstuj78iwe.jpg



Thanks for reading
 

Oxygen Thief

Admin
Staff member
Admin
Singleway... had to give it big legs there eons ago when the blue lights arrived. Nice work guys.
 

Thumper

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Another very witty yet informative report and I do like a good mine report, I'd never have the balls to confront my claustraphobia and go in one so seeing reports with great photo's makes up for it!

The pose is perfect, very 28 Days Later meets Resident Evil. Try a wedding gown next time, they seem really popular for urbex photoshoots.
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
Updating my own report as I have since done a couple of more sites from this area and figured it is best to keep everything in one report to create a definite record of the Bathampton area.

Kingham Quarry, Combe Down

Kingham Quarry was an open quarry with a railway-sized entrance tunnel that took the stone by rail to the nearby Somerset Coal Canal.

It is not known when this quarry was active. What is known is that in 1798 William Smith, the "father of English Geology", bought a small estate at Tucking Mill by the Somerset Coal Canal in the valley below Combe Down. During 1809 or 1810 he conceived the idea of opening a Bath stone quarry at Kingham Field and conveying the stone by rail down to Tucking Mill where it would be sawn and loaded onto canal barges.



Laying of the rails was in progress in 1811 and in August 1812 William Smith ordered saws for stone manufactory. On the 6th November 1812 William Smith wrote that he saw the "quarry arch opened" - almost definitely referring to the archway seen in the photos below.

It is not known when quarrying ceased, but it was reported in May 1819 that quarrying was still in progress. Later that year, William Smith was sent to debtor's prison and by 1820 Tucking Mill belonged to somebody else.

There is no definite remaining trace of the railway but it is likely that the present footpath to Summer Lane follows it.

The old entrance tunnel has a well-preserved stone arch approximately 3m wide by 1.5m high. The tunnel is made of unmortared freestone blocks but unfortunately has fallen in about 20m inside.

1. The tunnel archway seen from Summer Lane


2. The tunnel was constructed in 1812


3. First view looking in


4. Unfortunately it was filled in just around the corner


5. Looking out


6. Detail of the construction using unmortared blocks


7. A bit further away from Summer Lane is the site of the actual quarry


8. Assumed that this footpath marks the route of the old tramway. From the quarry to Tucking Mill probably about 600-700m but very steep


9. An interesting piece of pottery found in the tunnel. The diamond mark represents the British Patent Office from 1842-1883 and is used as a assurance to the buyer that this piece is of British design. A bit of reserach and we can work out more:
The letters R.S.R. indicate that this is from the Ridgway, Sparks and Ridgway pottery which operated in Shelton, Staffordshire from 1873 to 1879
The central R.D is a Patent Office mark standing for registered design
The roman numeral at the top of the diamond indicates the type of material used. In this class IV meaning clay ware
The E at the bottom of the diamond indicates the fifth month May. The number at the top indicates the 21st day
The 8 on the left indicates the year, presumably 1878
The number 18 on the left is the bundle number
And I agree, I need to get out more


Bathampton WW2 Auxiliary Unit Patrol Hideout

The Auxiliary Units were specially-trained, highly-secret units created by the British government during the Second World War with the aim of using irregular warfare to help combat any invasion of the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany, which the Germans codenamed Operation Sea Lion. With the advantage of having witnessed the rapid fall of several Continental European nations, the United Kingdom was the only country during the war that was able to create a multilayered guerrilla force in anticipation of an invasion.

In the event of an invasion, all Auxiliary Units would disappear into their operational bases and would not maintain contact with local Home Guard commanders, who should indeed be wholly unaware of their existence. Although the Auxiliaries were Home Guard volunteers and wore Home Guard uniforms, they would not participate in the conventional phase of their town's defence but would be activated once the local Home Guard defence had been ended to inflict maximum mayhem and disruption over a further brief but violent period. They were not envisaged as a continuing resistance force against long-term occupation.

Service in the Auxiliary Units was expected to be highly dangerous, with a projected life expectancy of just twelve days for its members, with orders to either shoot one another or use explosives to kill themselves if capture by an enemy force seemed likely.

Each Patrol was a self-contained cell, expected to be self-sufficient and operationally autonomous in the case of invasion, generally operating within a 15-mile radius. They were provided with elaborately-concealed underground Operational Bases (OB), usually built by the Royal Engineers in a local woodland, with a camouflaged entrance and emergency escape tunnel. It is thought that 400 to 500 such OBs were constructed.
The Bathampton Auxiliary Unit Patrol lacked a purpose-built operational base and it's operational hideout was an 18th century small stone mine. It consisted of a small entrance leading to a large cavern. A steep scree slope leads down to another large chamber. The hideout would have had bunks made out of wood and supported on stone piles. Rations were kept in the hideout and hidden from view under stone scree.
Besides the hideout, the patrol had an arms/explosives dump at a nearby disused quarry at the top of Widcombe Hill. That quarry is now the site of a park of chalet type bungalows.

The following are known members of the patrol :
A. Bentley Hunt Joined 1940
W.J. Denning
J. Giles Sgt, joined 1941
A.C. Hanna Joined 1941
G. James Joined 1942
J.M. Jones
R.W. Millard Joined 1940
J.G. Wyld Original patrol sergeant

1. The hideout is just off a footpath but tricky to spot


2. Tight entrance


3. Opens into a large chamber


4. To the side was a "room" surrounded by neatly stacked stones and inside it pieces of timber and a bedframe. I wonder if a legacy from the WW2 use as a patrol hideout?


5. A slope led down to a lower chamber


6. Plenty of space down here


7. Looking up to the way out


8. Graffiti dating from the 1920s


9. As before, I wonder if this is remains from the WW2 hideout?


10. The Auxiliary Unit had an explosive store at a nearby quarry. That site is now a bungalow park and there is no evidence of the quarry anymore apart from the road name


11.


12. A WW2 relic that was found inside the old stone mine. It is part of a RAF canteen drinking mug. The style of the mark indicates that this has to be 1940s. If the mug was complete it sells for about £7 on eBay


Thanks for reading.
 

popeass1

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That's not the Auxiliary patrol OB. The video on YouTube showing that didn't have a clue.
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
That video is definitely the place above and the video was uploaded by CART - the Colleshill Auxilliary Research Team - a reliable source for the study of the Auxilliary Patrols. What makes you think that the hideout is elsewhere?
 

popeass1

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That video is definitely the place above and the video was uploaded by CART - the Colleshill Auxilliary Research Team - a reliable source for the study of the Auxilliary Patrols. What makes you think that the hideout is elsewhere?
From photographs and descriptions from the last surviving member of the Auxilliary patrol, its near there, but that's not it. I've seen a Coleshill video where they speculate its the large gated one with the sign about bat's. The actual ob entrance is blocked.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Lovely thread, stunning shots. Lighting is fantastic, glad you updated this :thumb
 

nattyurbex

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
In the book 'Bathampton Down - a hill divided' the actual location of the auxiliary patrol base is described with a helpful photograph of the entrance which at some point I am going to go and hunt down.
 

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