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Report (Permission Visit) - The Godstone Main Series Firestone Mine, Surrey - October 2020 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) The Godstone Main Series Firestone Mine, Surrey - October 2020


LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
History:
The Godstone main series firestone mine, is located deep beneath the forest floors of Surrey, and dates back as far as the 1600s. The mine first began its life as a vital source of flint, or commonly named "firestone".
Originally, this mine comprised of 5 different networks, The Roman Road Series, Main Series, Sawmills, Whitefield Quarry and Jones. However, during the 1700s, all 5 of these networks were eventually worked into one, which today is what's known as the main series. Unfortunately, over the years several sections of the mine have suffered from collapses, resulting in inaccessibility to some of the oldest parts.
Despite its 1600s sections, the mine didn't properly start expanding until the 1800s during the industrial revolution, when flint became recognised as a prime source of material for construction. The expansion of the mine's passages continued further into the century, mainly due to it's close proximity to London, where flint could easily be transported into the city in order to be smelted down by company's such as glassworks in Vauxhall.
Nearing the end of the victorian era, the demand for firestone became to ease off, and the expansion of Godstone Main Series subsequently began to draw to a close, and some of the earthier areas of the mine where repurposed by French mushroom growers as mini underground farm almost.
Now, at the start of the 20th century, the mine was abandoned and closed off, with no purpose for it in the foreseeable future. Although, it wasn't until the outbreak of the second world war, that the mine was given a new use by local villagers as an unofficial air raid shelter, and continued to be an unofficial shelter until the war came to a close.
Since then, the mine has fallen into the ownership of various groups, and most recently, the well known WCMS (Wealden Cave & Mine Society), who today occasionally let people in to explore the network.


The Original Route Of Firestone Transportation

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The Explore:
After having tried to find access to the mine on several occasions prior to this visit, it had become apparent that the WCMS were very hot on their heels when it came to securing open entry points and installing alarms where necessary, and that a permission visit really was the only possible way I'd be able to see this place.
And so, that's exactly what I did. I know a couple of friends in the WCMS, and after having accepted the likelihood of me finding my own way in was basically zilch, I decided to reach out to them in the hope a day might come up where I'd be able to visit, and after a short while... It did!
Now, having gotten to Godstone and been given the run of the place for 4 hours, myself and a non-member began to make our way into the network to finally see what we'd been previously spent a reasonable amount of time trying to access without a key.


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We carried on deeper into the mine, and despite this place now being supposedly looked after and maintained in certain places, I can honestly say I've been in totally disused mines and unowned mines with more stable looking ceilings than this! But nevertheless, we pressed on in the direction of the base of a ladder which leads to a certain manhole, just to see for ourselves whether or not the rumour about an underground alarm was true or not.

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Despite not actually seeing an alarm at the base of the ladder leading to the manhole, I didn't particularly want to test the theory and have our trip cut short all because I felt like testing it, and so we kept well away from the manhole entrance.
I knew Godstone was a little easy to become lost in, but I didn't expect it to go on for anywhere near as far as it did, and a few wrong lefts and rights led us astray from the main cavers footpath, leaving us with quite a severe need to relocate it.


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Now, having reached near to the end of our allocated time to explore the mine, we thought it best to head back towards the entrance. However, I knew for a fact there and then that there was still a large a chunk I hadn't yet seen, and so I don't think a return trip would go unnoticed.
We began to make our way back, but of course, not without rattling off just a couple shots...


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And that, was that... as the majority of you know (especially the ones who know me personally), I'm definitely not one to try and obtain permission to explore somewhere, however, after having been to every entrance imaginable as I say, and with the offer for a permission visit on the table, it would've been foolish not to snap it up.
Sometimes, it doesn't matter how you get into somewhere, as long as you get in. And on a personal note, the primary interest should always be focused on what you're actually seeing, as entry is just part of the package so to speak
.
But, above all else, this was certainly a morning to remember, and cheers to the guys over at WCMS for making this happen...

- Thanks for looking -
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Godstones a nice one mate, getting lost shouldn't have been an option with a survey ,which you can find online to guide you, or in my case an urbanginger who did the map reading bit :D
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nice shots there. Ive done tunnel rds and kings tunnels through the WCMS and been left alone in them. Not done Godstone, really should.
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
It’s certainly worth a look that’s for sure, I could definitely get something in place if you’re keen to go :thumb
That is something to think about when all this damn tier stuff is over, this virus has just ruined my year in one way or another. Cheers Sam. We will sort something soon, probably spring if we are ever given freedom again lol
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
That is something to think about when all this damn tier stuff is over, this virus has just ruined my year in one way or another. Cheers Sam. We will sort something soon, probably spring if we are ever given freedom again lol
Well we are only in Tier one, and so’s Surrey, there’s not actually any laws in place preventing a caving trip thank god. But yes for sure next year will do fine if that’s more suitable :thumb
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
Nothing wrong with a permission visit if its the only way to do it.
Well, a lot of people have gotten in here without it, and admittedly I tried every single access point in the hope one would be doable or in such a way to be made doable if you catch my drift. But with things being the way they are, a permission visit really was the only way
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Well we are only in Tier one, and so’s Surrey, there’s not actually any laws in place preventing a caving trip thank god. But yes for sure next year will do fine if that’s more suitable :thumb
Just with my asthma and recent 2 bouts of chest infections Ive got to be super careful. So Im hoping spring :D
 

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