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Mine Exploration Forum

Author The great county adit
tubs

Joined: 12/04/2013

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The great county adit
Posted: 13/04/2013 21:33:57
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Being completely new to this and a complete armature, I was reading about the great county adit - a flat series of tunnels designed to drain lots of different mines . I liked the idea of horizontal tunnels but obviously these would be flooded . I went to where the article said the exit was and obviously there are thousands of gallons of water comming out of it . My questions are :- has anyone explored these adits ? Are there any other entrances ? Is it access able ?
Are there and easily accessible adits in west Cornwall that don't require absailing down and reasonably safe ?
I've been into the one on Carbis bay beach
IP: 80.189.62.122
scooptram

Joined: 22/05/2007

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The great county adit
Posted: 14/04/2013 00:20:09
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county adit is not the best place in the world for a moch very wet unstable in lots of places and bad air if your going for a look up there go with some one who knows it stuey or roy m will be along soon they will know more about it

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playing with tin stream works
IP: 86.167.202.199
Roy Morton

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Joined: 09/10/2007
Location: Redruth Cornwall

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The great county adit
Posted: 14/04/2013 01:39:50
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Parts of the adit have been explored and surveyed by various people in the days when access was simple. The Great Adit is still an active system and with it draining such a large area it can flash flood.
Connections to some mines have, over the years, been blocked by collapses causing the water to back up such as at wheal Gorland, where a considerable head of water exists above the deep adit level.
If for any reason one of these dams were to give out the effects could be pretty startling.
Most people who know the area and the adit well, will tell you that every now and then the adit sends a 'slug' of ochreous water down the river. This is a blow out, and I've seen quite a few, small and large.....not nice!
Anyway.....some really good info in Allen Buckley's book, 'The great County adit' Penhellick publications Camborne, 2000. ISBN 1 871678 51 X. or from your local library.
Hope this helps some. Smile

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'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear'
IP: 86.152.103.12
tubs

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The great county adit
Posted: 14/04/2013 14:42:07
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Great info thanks ! Don't worry - wasn't thinking about going in - just curious . Are there and -easy beginner Adits that don't require any equipment ( apart from a torch and hard hat ) along the lines of the carbis bay beach one ? IP: 80.189.111.205
Roy Morton

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Location: Redruth Cornwall

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The great county adit
Posted: 14/04/2013 21:44:09
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tubs wrote:

Great info thanks ! Don't worry - wasn't thinking about going in - just curious . Are there and -easy beginner Adits that don't require any equipment ( apart from a torch and hard hat ) along the lines of the carbis bay beach one ?


Check out your private message box Wink Smile

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tubs

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The great county adit
Posted: 14/04/2013 22:32:34
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Thanks for the message . I'll reply when they turn on that feature IP: 80.189.83.182
Kjelch1

Joined: 03/06/2020

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The great county adit
Posted: 03/06/2020 23:55:33
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Would I be able to get a list? IP: 109.249.185.104
Moorebooks

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The great county adit
Posted: 04/06/2020 21:55:24
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Roy Morton wrote:

Parts of the adit have been explored and surveyed by various people in the days when access was simple. The Great Adit is still an active system and with it draining such a large area it can flash flood.
Connections to some mines have, over the years, been blocked by collapses causing the water to back up such as at wheal Gorland, where a considerable head of water exists above the deep adit level.
If for any reason one of these dams were to give out the effects could be pretty startling.
Most people who know the area and the adit well, will tell you that every now and then the adit sends a 'slug' of ochreous water down the river. This is a blow out, and I've seen quite a few, small and large.....not nice!
Anyway.....some really good info in Allen Buckley's book, 'The great County adit' Penhellick publications Camborne, 2000. ISBN 1 871678 51 X. or from your local library.
Hope this helps some. Smile



The book is now out of print

Mike
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D.Send

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The great county adit
Posted: 05/06/2020 06:59:05
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Hi,
Back in the early seventies, there were a lot of people looking for the County adit. The 'entrance' turned out to be the adit of Mount wellington mine, and another possible one had also dried up due to pumping in the adjacent Wheal Jane.

After consulting the source documents referring to the adit, it would appear that the county 'adit' was possibly just a vast system of drainage leats on the surface, connecting adits.
So it is possible that the 'Great County Adit' is not the 30 mile underground trek many believe it to be. Certainly, those adits I visited were all dead ends, even after a mile or more of wading !
This would be backed up by the flash-flooding observations.
But exploring mines then became a problem due to various security questions, after the reopening of the working trials. A great pity though for the sport... as we did not encounter any 'dodgy' sections anywhere. And, we met no ochre dams...

It is also surprising that for such an important underground venture, no survey or legal deeds have been found, as it would have involved considerable common investments and wrangling.

D.Send.


IP: 81.48.157.183
neutronix

Joined: 04/03/2008

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The great county adit
Posted: 05/06/2020 09:06:00
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The Great County Adit by Allen Buckley, 2016, 128 pages Paperback £15.99 ISBN 978-0-95756608-8

Allen Buckley’s history, The Great County Adit, was first published in 2000. It was the first modern study of that great co-operative venture and immediately recognised as the standard work on the subject. Unobtainable for some years, it is now reissued in a larger format with new illustrations and maps for a new generation of readers. The book covers the history of the enterprise form its eighteenth century beginnings to the present day and celebrates anew what the Mining Journal described in 1843 as the most extensive, valuable and systematic undertaking of its kind in Cornwall

Apparently available from The Trevithick Society

http://www.trevithicksociety.info/publications.htm


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“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." Mark Twain
IP: 109.157.43.4
Moorebooks

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The great county adit
Posted: 05/06/2020 10:51:52
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neutronix wrote:

The Great County Adit by Allen Buckley, 2016, 128 pages Paperback £15.99 ISBN 978-0-95756608-8

Allen Buckley’s history, The Great County Adit, was first published in 2000. It was the first modern study of that great co-operative venture and immediately recognised as the standard work on the subject. Unobtainable for some years, it is now reissued in a larger format with new illustrations and maps for a new generation of readers. The book covers the history of the enterprise form its eighteenth century beginnings to the present day and celebrates anew what the Mining Journal described in 1843 as the most extensive, valuable and systematic undertaking of its kind in Cornwall

Apparently available from The Trevithick Society

http://www.trevithicksociety.info/publications.htm


Don't you think I wouldn't have checked that before stating its out of print?

If it was available I would still have copies to sell . Their website shows the publications they have produced but sadly several are as stated before including The Tavistock Canal and the Wherry Mine to name but 2 others

sorry to disappoint

Mike

Mike
IP: 77.96.189.154
Roy Morton

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Location: Redruth Cornwall

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The great county adit
Posted: 06/06/2020 01:21:46
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D.Send wrote:

Hi,
Back in the early seventies, there were a lot of people looking for the County adit. The 'entrance' turned out to be the adit of Mount wellington mine, and another possible one had also dried up due to pumping in the adjacent Wheal Jane.

After consulting the source documents referring to the adit, it would appear that the county 'adit' was possibly just a vast system of drainage leats on the surface, connecting adits.
So it is possible that the 'Great County Adit' is not the 30 mile underground trek many believe it to be. Certainly, those adits I visited were all dead ends, even after a mile or more of wading !
This would be backed up by the flash-flooding observations.
But exploring mines then became a problem due to various security questions, after the reopening of the working trials. A great pity though for the sport... as we did not encounter any 'dodgy' sections anywhere. And, we met no ochre dams...

It is also surprising that for such an important underground venture, no survey or legal deeds have been found, as it would have involved considerable common investments and wrangling.

D.Send.





This could be a long post so bear with me.

It’s a fact that mining research, like other subjects, cannot solely be undertaken with the aid of the internet.
Much of the printed information which was once commonly available, is long since out of print and only accessible in the reference sections of public libraries or record offices.
Personal field research is still a tool well worth considering, and much useful and original information can be gleaned from ‘poking around’ with a sensible head on.

Aside from the above, there is also the ‘local knowledge’ archive from folk living in the area of interest. This can be a valuable resource if you can sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’. A great deal of info can be pure rubbish, in that stories can become embellished / corrupted as they have been passed down through families. At times like these, such stories need to be balanced with some book or archive research.

On to the County Adit.

As stated before, Alan Buckley’s book is now the go-to volume for anyone interested in this massive subterranean undertaking, and a huge amount of time was spent by AB, sorting out old documents and cost books from the adit committee, that had been held in private hands for over 200 years.
Many of those documents had not seen the light of day since they were set to rest back in the day.
So a huge amount of historic and archive material on the adit does exist and I believe, has been catalogued and now resides in the county archive Kresen Kernow in Redruth.

The supposition that it was a series of surface leats and not underground tunnels is complete rubbish, and detailed plans of the adit system do exist.
The adit does indeed cover the 30 odd miles stated by many, and drains a massive area; this is no rumour, it’s a proven fact.
Consolidated Goldfields, once the owners of Wheal Jane Mine, undertook a survey of the adit within their mining bounds, when water from the adit found its way into the workings below the Carnon Valley forcing an emergency abandonment and flooding some of the lower levels of Wheal Jane.
The company had to construct a large concrete flume to take both the adit water, and the Carnon River which they had to divert, effectively re routing the water away from an old open gunnis and also from a very porous section of kaolinised killas, which leaked water like a seive.

Later on, Mount Wellington / Carnon Consolidated Tin Mine Ltd,
cleared and surveyed a large section of the CA whilst investigating possible future mineral resources in the United Downs and Consolidated Mines area.
This also formed part of the groundwork for the Wheal Maid decline project.

The original portal for the County Adit has been variously described as being ‘a little below Nangiles’ or ‘ a little above Bissoe Bridge’
The latter being a prime example of corruption of a location. The bridge that many call Bissoe Bridge, near L J Richards Garage, is not Bissoe Bridge. That is situated at least a half mile downstream from there.
It seems that many of these facts have been, to use a modern idiom ‘copied and pasted’ from other authors without ever having checked the facts themselves, blindly accepting that their source was correct.
The real portal location has been shown to me by 2 people, One was the owner of the land on which it sits, and the other was the celebrated mining historian A K Hamilton Jenkin. This was further corroborated a few years later when I was in conversation with J H {Jack} Trounson.
I last saw it about 20 years ago and it was almost entirely obscured by bracken and brambles, the mouth dangerously deep with ochreous marsh.

Mount Wellington’s adit is not the CA.
Wellington’s adit did discharge into the CA in 3 different places, at different times in its history. Firstly the old Wheal Friendship (later to become Mt Wellington) adit discharged approximately 30 metres west of the present portal. This is now buried under the banks of the concrete flume previously mentioned. This was used until abandonment in the 1930’s (ish)
The next discharge into the adit came in the early 1970’s when the Canadians opened the mine and pumped water to surface, and from there let it flow down the hillside, under the Twelveheads to Bissoe road and into a shaft on the CA located a few yards east of the present gated CA portal, which by the way, is a bypass excavated after the CA collapsed under the old Chasewater Redruth Railway embankment, a few yards west of the bypass portal.
Concrete gulleys can still be seen either side of the road which channelled the water beneath the road, one is down the bank next to the small car park opposite Wheal Andrew, the other is on the other side of the road; they are easy to find.
The volume of water was creating erosion problems and frequent collapses, and so the adit roof was removed from this discharge shaft to a point opposite Frogmore cottage.
Later they pressed the old adit into service again for a short while, but once again the old narrow adit could not cope with the amount of water being pumped out, and it collapsed under the road above it’s present discharge point.
The mine management quickly closed the road and took the top off the adit, where they laid 1200mm concrete sewage pipe sections into the mine, and backfilled to get the road open again.
This is the present Wellington adit.

I’ve heard all sorts of tales about the CA over the years, one frequently bandied about is that “you can walk from St Austell to Penzance through it” and another was that local mineral lord and land owner, John Williams of Scorrier, “used to ride his horse along the levels”.
When faced with someone who truly believes that this is the case, especially when the story teller has more years under their belt than yourself, it’s best to nod politely and agree.

I think that’s all………...


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"You Chinese think of everything!" "But I''m not Chinese!" "Then you must have forgotten something!"
IP: 81.153.21.37
D.Send

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The great county adit
Posted: 06/06/2020 06:54:26
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Hi Roy,
Many thanks for these details on The County Adit.

My remarks were based on personal explorations in the early seventies, and archive research in the Plymouth local history archives department at that time. (BTW, Plymouth museum has a very comprehensive collection of minerals from Devon & Cornwall mines...).

I left England in 1975, and have had no news until I recently joined 'Adit Now'. It is great to see that the GCA does indeed exist. Who is responsable for its inspection and maintenance these days ?

We explored Mount Wellington and Wheal Jane adits before the mines were reopened.... via their shafts, on electron ladders. So my remarks are not based on web searches !

At 72, I will not be tickling any more 'adit alligators', especially as at the time wet suits were things you saw Cousteau wearing on the Telly !

Best Wishes,
D.Send.
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derrick man

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The great county adit
Posted: 06/06/2020 12:25:50
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I worked for Foraky Ltd in the early 80s, they had contracted to Wheal Jane and South Crofty at various times in the 1960s and 1970s. I knew the area quite well at the time, having lived, worked and studied at Camborne a few years before.

The miners still with Foraky (by then, a handful of long-service men hanging on for their pensions) told various stories of adit clearance work, usually attributed to GCA .. but that really had more to do without their status, as non-local contractors their actual knowledge of the area was very incomplete.
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Martin Bull

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The great county adit
Posted: 09/11/2020 11:48:19
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Many thanks to Roy Morton for the very informative posting above. I spent a morning in the Carnon valley ( my first visit ) whilst on holiday in the area six weeks ago. I'm fortunate enough to have a copy of Allen Buckley's book ( purchased from Moore Books a few years back ) and spent a frustrating half hour blundering about below Nangiles looking for the GA portal. So I can confirm that the area is well-overgrown with bracken and brambles. I had to be content with finding a concrete channel gushing with ochre-ish water. IP: 2.29.244.68
derrick man

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The great county adit
Posted: 09/11/2020 12:13:14
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One of the things people tend to overlook nowadays, is that in the 1970s it was still possible to meet people who had seen these things, first hand.

That information is now completely lost.
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Roy Morton

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The great county adit
Posted: 09/11/2020 16:54:09
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The guy that owns the land on which the CA portal is situated, is the son of a late friend of mine.
He assures me that he plans to clear the portal at some point, but who knows when after all the lockdown shenanigans and what may come next. Sad

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