Report - - Holme Bank Chert Mine - Bakewell - Jun 16 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Holme Bank Chert Mine - Bakewell - Jun 16


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member

Holme Bank was the last of two operational chert mines in Derbyshire the other being the Pretoria Mine, both at Bakewell. The chert bed lies on a 1 in 3.7 gradient and the mine was subject to flooding in severe winters. Illumination was by mains electricity in addition to carbide lamps carried by the miners.


Its been tricky to arrange a visit, with so many sites on the list we returned to the Derbyshire for some underground goodness.We had attempted this place previously, 50% of us made it in to a very tight squeeze. We came back after some training, and chest compression techniques and the knowledge of alternative access points ;-) thanks to @WildBoyz for intel.

We actually counted 5 access points in total, although there was 8 originally not all accessible though. Amusingly we had seen a crane in a report from inside the mine, it looked awesome. We searched every part of the mine, and its huge - a good 4 hours - we couldn't find it, we left quite gutted- well until It became clear the crane is in another mine and mixed photos on the report we saw. A lot of area to cover, but the mine is a gem, with some nice relics remaining. I managed to get some moving footage of some of the these, see below after I upload. Gave it a 6/10 on the counts of the rare winch and cart, which managed to move a good 10 meters of so, proper Indiana Jones style. Less photos than we would have liked, the exterior of the mine is featured in the short vid...



Chert is a form of fine-grained, flinty silica most commonly found in veins in the uppermost beds of a limestone sequence. Chert was worked into tools in prehistoric times, easily shaped by chipping off flakes to produce sharp edges.


The most useful role for chert was recognised about two centuries ago for the grinding of calcined flint, used as a whitening agent in earthenware manufacture. In 1772 the potter Josiah Wedgwood recommended Derbyshire chert as a major improvement over granite millstones, which left annoying black specks in the pure white flint.


The chert bed was on average 9 ft (2.7 m) thick, though up to 18 ft (5.5 m) in places. It was extracted by removing the underlying limestone so that the chert fell under its own weight. A hoist powered by compressed air loaded it onto flat wagons, drawn to the surface by compressed air winches along a 1 ft 6 in (46 cm) gauge railway. The ‘waste’ limestone was built up into substantial roof supports.​


Early 19th-century extraction at Holme Bank was from quarries but commercial mining was in place by 1867, when the site was known as Bakewell Chert Mine.
Later it was also referred to as Smith's Mine, after the owner. The workings consisted of an extensive system of passages with eight entrances.


In 1925, 41 men were employed but 20 years later only 21 were at work. Approximately half worked underground. Between the two World Wars, mining broke out on the surface, enabling the chert to be quarried alongside limestone.​


In its later years Holme Bank met a considerable demand for poultry grit. The mine closed between 1959 and 1961 but a block-making plant, trading as Smith’s Runners, remained in operation, using existing supplies of chert


In recent years the few underground visitors to Holme Bank Mine have included cave divers, using the clear subterranean waters for training purposes. Almost 10 years ago the Peak Park Planning Board granted permission for the mine to be opened up to visitors but this plan has so far not been implemented.


We couldn't figure out why this place was sealed, that was until we came across this....unlucky guy ;-)


Thanks for looking... Vince and the gang...




28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
nice selection of pictures mate,as for squeezing in ,i cant say we had that issue
I only just made it, getting older man!! - but easily avoidable with intel ;-)

Great photos and report, did you spot the hang man's noose down there??
Nah mate, we may have missed it - too busy looking for the crane that wasn't there lol
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