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Author Fordel Day Level
blondchaser

Joined: 06/01/2014

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 06/01/2014 22:48:20
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Hi, newbee here.
Much has been heard recently about the open cast mines in W. Fife.
In many reports the term "Fordel Day Level" is mentioned.
Not being from a mining background, could someone please explain what is the FDL? and where exactly is it situated?
Google map just shows a field of grain.
Some reports show a small outlet of rusty water and mention flooding, so what is the importance of the FDL?
According to Google, the FDL is near where a mining disaster took place years ago at Donibristle.
IP: 86.159.175.88
Cuban Bloodhound

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 06/01/2014 23:02:07
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The Fordell Day Level is a drainage level that was driven to drain the water from a number of local pits. The Muir Dean opencast pit has untopped it, and from there they now pump and treat the water. IP: 82.26.177.132
bigdavevw

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 07/01/2014 07:59:12
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I have been looking into this also.

The day level was a few miles long by the looks of it, I think it started at Fordell colliery just south of Cowdenbeath. I think it is very small, about 4-5ft high.

The other end drains into the Fordell burn in Fordell firs.
Check out this http://www.geolocation.ws/v/W/File%3AAir%20Shaft%20-%20geograph.org.uk%20-%20882019.jpg/-/en

http://www.geolocation.ws/v/W/File%3AAn%20Old%20Arched%20Bridge%20-%20geograph.org.uk%20-%20855974.jpg/-/en

The NLS mosaic viewer shows the location of the shafts, and some of them look like they have been fenced off

Dave
IP: 81.129.3.79
rhychydwr

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Joined: 09/06/2007
Location: Cwmparc, Rhondda, South Wales, UK.

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 07/01/2014 08:42:31
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Fordel Mine NGR NT 363 669 Explorer Fordel, Midlothian
Aka Fordell. Sealed, with all traces removed, but consisted of two gradually dipping, parallel levels not far below the surface. ½ a mile in a very shattered cross passage barred entry into further passages which gave indications of being flooded. Bad air also prevented exploration, which terminated at a point thought to be close to the A68 trunk road.

The Fordell Day Level is a mine "river", connecting the foot of numerous former coal mines, from as far afield as Cowdenbeath, and draining the pits. It is now one of Scotland's worst pollution issues, issuing iron-polluted water into the nearby watercourse. Ongoing open-cast mining being carried out by ATH Resources promises to solve this issue as part of their reparations.

Butler, J. (1964) A Troglodyte Visits Fordel Mine. GSG 1st Ser 1 (5) 3

GSG; 1st Ser 3 (5) 21.

Henderson, G. (1965) The Latest Visit to Fordel. GSG 1st Series Vol.2 No.3, p. 7

Jeffreys, A.L. [Ed] (1963) Notes on a Sketch Plan of Fordel Mine. GSG 1st Ser 1 (1) 12 survey.

Jeffreys, Alan 2008 Mines in Scotland 30-31



--

Cutting coal in my spare time.
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Goon

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 07/01/2014 10:05:16
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Hi
These references are incorrect. They refer to a shallow coal mine south of Dalkeith and have nothing to do with the Fordell level in Fife.
A. Jeffreys
IP: 82.44.1.244
Grumpytramp

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 07/01/2014 22:49:30
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The Fordell Day Level was one of a number of drainage adits constructed in the 18th century to drain workings on either side of Dumfemline. There are still remains Pitfarrine Day Level visible to the west of Crossford and the Urquhart Day Level between Crossford and Dunfermline (mostly in the form of the shafts sunk to construct and thereafter inspect/repair). To the east of Dunfermline there were day levels at Halbeath and Townhill, but the most important was the Fordell Day Level which drained the Dunfermline Splint workings in the syncline which forms the southern most extent of the Townhill/Halbeath/Fordell/Cowdenbeath coalfield.

The Fordell Day Level was developed originally for Fordell Estate by the then proprietor Sir Robert Henderson about 1750 and extended to drain adjacent properties of Cuttlehill & Couston. (it was in fact the third level driven by the Frodell Estate). As it extended north a series of intersecting tunnels were driven east and west through faulted grounded to drain adjacent workings. By completion it extended intercepting the drainage of the Lady Anne, Roundal, William, George and Alice Pits of Fordell Colliery. It ultimately was 3.6 miles long and was serviced by 30 inspection shafts along its route.

Ultimately it was hydraulically connected (via old workings, cross-cuts and faulting) to workings throughout the Cowdenbeath Coalfield.

Despite the opencast workings at Muir Dean there are still inspection shafts to be seen between Crossgates/Coaledge and Muir Dean (circular stone enclosures)

See http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=tbcgpqgqkv12&lvl=19.13&dir=8.01&sty=o&eo=0&form=LMLTCC

The full length of the Day Level was routinely inspected and repaired right up to the closure of Fordell Colliery in the 1940s.

Its reputation for pollution was sealed following the closure of the Cowdenbeath Collieries in the 1970s. When pumping at the collieries ceased the hydraulic rebound of the water table resulted in large quantities of acid mine water (from old workings extending probably from Townhill, Kelty and Lumphinnans as well as the much older local workings) being discharged from the mouth of the Day Level (resulting in ochre being deposited from there to the Firth of Forth and killing most life in the burn). Originally the Coal Authority had intended to intercept the burn near the mouth of the Day Level below Fordell Firs and treat via a read bed but I don't think they were ever able to secure the land. ATH had proposed to intercept the day level in working the southern extent of the Fordell Coalfield and install pumps to intercept and treat; though it's unclear what will now happen to that proposal.

Ironically it is possible to see the actual Day Level in satellite photos in the base of the Muir Dean working void:

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=56.072128~-3.365027&lvl=19&dir=0&sty=a&eo=0&form=LMLTCC

[the orange stain rain NE to SW and being diverted to a sump before being pumped up to treatment lagoons behind Drumcooper Farm]
IP: 79.70.194.196
Pyroninja

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 08/01/2014 00:16:15
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Map showing the route of the level.

IP: 82.9.24.87
blondchaser

Joined: 06/01/2014

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 11/01/2014 01:19:27
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Thank you all for a fascinating insight into this area.
Do i understand the term "Day Level" to mean an underground drainage system? Anyone know how this term was initially derived??
My son in law tells me when he was a boy, he played at a farm in this area, where outlines of the old railway could be seen. This railway was of a special gauge and used to transport coal to the coast for shipping.
Information on the construction of the day level would also prove most interesting----anyone?

PS. Found out that farm is Vantage Farm and hope to visit in a week or so.
IP: 86.156.35.20 Edited: 11/01/2014 20:13:54 by blondchaser
Cuban Bloodhound

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 11/01/2014 06:49:43
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I would imagine the day level was shot blasted through limestone with air shafts sunk every so far.

Here's the definition of a day level according to this: http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/Indexes/Barrowman.html

DAY-LEVEL, A water level driven from the surface.
IP: 86.27.45.236
bigdavevw

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Location: S/W Scotland

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 26/01/2014 22:57:57
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IP: 81.129.3.79 Edited: 26/01/2014 23:00:34 by bigdavevw
blondchaser

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 27/01/2014 19:29:37
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Aye Dave, your visit to Fordel was much more productive than mine. I spent too much time trying to find relics of the railway.
However, i spent some time talking to a retired man who spent many years working in opencast sites in this area, and provided useful info.
I eventually got directions for the outfall of the day level but ran out of time to verify this. Think it is behind the nursery.
In my quest i met in with a man called Bob who runs the Scouting office at Fordel and he is a mine of information about Fordell estate over the years. His story about the demise of Alice the pug and her crew was somewhat heart rendering.
As soon as the weather improves i intend to return to Fordel and finally see the Day Level outlet.
IP: 86.164.13.22
Grumpytramp

Joined: 25/07/2009
Location: The Big County, Scotland

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 27/01/2014 20:42:58
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To learn more about the Fordell Wagonway & Railway (plus the Earl of Elgin's railway network to the south and east of Dunfermline and the Halbeath railway) look up a copy of "the Early Railways of West Fife - an industrial and social commentary" by AW Brotchie and Harry Jack, published by Stenlake Publishing

http://www.stenlake.co.uk/books/view_book.php?ref=480

Sadly its out of print, there are secondhand copies available (at a price) but there are several copies in the Fife Library system.

The book is a real labour of love, with some magnificent photos of the Fordell system. Although essentially a railway enthusiasts publication, the authors have not stinted on recalling the long mining history of this part of the Fife coalfields. Highly recommended!
IP: 79.70.205.74
bigdavevw

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 27/01/2014 21:33:56
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Yea that wood has a fair bit of history. If you know the rough location of the outlet and want some company when you,re looking for it let me know as I live in Dunfermline

Dave
IP: 81.129.3.79
blondchaser

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 30/01/2014 20:50:59
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Hello Dave. Thanks for the offer of company on my next visit to Fordel. It may be a long trek as i have walking problems.
However, in the meantime, can you give me any directions on how to see the remnants of Pitfrrane Day Level? I can't get anything on google maps even with ariel view.
Presumably there was a Pitfarrane pit at one time.
IP: 86.164.15.121
bigdavevw

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 02/02/2014 23:38:40
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Aye, if you look at Pitfirrane golf course on google earth or the nls mosaic viewer you will see an orange stream to the right of the course, this is the level. i,ll check it out some time IP: 81.129.3.79
blondchaser

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 05/02/2014 17:06:57
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Hi Dave. Went to Pitfirrane Golf Club yesterday but did not find day level. However, just as i was leaving i spoke to folk out walking and they said to look behind Keavil hotel, so i may get back next Tuesday afternoon (my day for baby sitting in Dunf.)
Last night on web i found a sight that mentioned the old Pitifrrane mine. It stated that the day level was built in the 17000's???????
Apparently, there has been a water treatment works set up in the last few years to purify the water from the day level near source. Needless to say, no mention of it's loication.
IP: 86.156.36.41
Grumpytramp

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 05/02/2014 20:48:06
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blondchaser wrote:

Apparently, there has been a water treatment works set up in the last few years to purify the water from the day level near source. Needless to say, no mention of it's loication.


You are correct the Coal Authority installed a passive water treatment system in 2009 which intercepts the day level water before it discharges into the Lynn Burn. It would be really easy to miss as it is nothing more that a culvert/drain which intercepts the tunnel, which had already collapsed back from its original opening, before emptying into an open ditch and passing into two reed beds to be treated (as the mine water comes into contact with air, as it cascades over shallow weirs the soluble iron in the water oxidises and becomes insoluble creating the familiar orange sediment which is collected in the reed beds before allowed to be discharged as clean water)

The mine water treatment is just to the side of the golf course and can be seen clearly here.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=56.056157~-3.506945&lvl=18&dir=0&sty=a&eo=0&form=LMLTCC
IP: 79.70.204.170
blondchaser

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 05/02/2014 21:05:37
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Thanks for that Grumpy. Now i'm totally confused as the plant seems to be South West of where i think the outlet is. The website i read said it was near to source.
Can't find the correct NLS mosaic map for this area.
IP: 86.156.36.41
Grumpytramp

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 05/02/2014 21:10:20
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blondchaser wrote:

However, in the meantime, can you give me any directions on how to see the remnants of Pitfrrane Day Level? I can't get anything on google maps even with ariel view.


As Dave has already said the Pitfarrane Day Level discharged at the back of Keavil House Hotel

See http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=56.055423~-3.503871&lvl=18&dir=0&sty=a&eo=0&form=LMLTCC

The original day level mouth was in the ditch that runs north to south, between the two fields (approximately half way down) and ultimately it discharged into the Lynn Burn a few hundred yards downstream

It shares a few of the characteristics of the Fordell Day Level having been constructed in the 1730s by Lord Elgin, it was the subject of very well recorded litigation (once again neighbouring proprietors removing underground barriers and allowing their workings to drain to the Pitfarrine Day Level) and could be followed on the surface thanks to regular inspection/constriction shafts.

From Keavel House the level runs approximately NNE to the west of the cross-roads in Crossford before intersecting the Pitfarrine Colliery workings immediately west of Knockhouse Farm. Surface traces of the day level around Crossford have been removed by modern housing development, but there are still some of the shafts that be seen.

Here http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=56.067974~-3.501828&lvl=19&dir=0&sty=a&eo=0&form=LMLTCC [complete with a tree!]

and http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=56.071861~-3.501637&lvl=18&dir=0&sty=a&eo=0&form=LMLTCC [the shaft is the middle and the enclosure to the north was a colliery and marks the approximate terminus of the day level]

blondchaser wrote:

Presumably there was a Pitfarrane pit at one time.


You will find that there would be numerous pits carrying the name Pitfarrine (I am aware of at least seven pits that carried that name) and all on Lord Elgin's Pitfarrane mineral field (which was presumably the extent of the former Pitfarrane House Estate)
IP: 79.70.204.170
Grumpytramp

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Fordel Day Level
Posted: 05/02/2014 21:36:50
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There are also extant remains of the Urquhart Day Level between Crossford and the edge of Dunfermline.

The Urquhart Day Level mouth is to the immediate south of Urquhart Farm on the A994 (just at the end of the straight from Crossford)

Here: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=tb9rbpgq94tc&lvl=18.92&dir=353.5&sty=o&eo=0&form=LMLTCC [the mouth of the Day Level is on the west side of the track in the triangular enclosure, and drains into the burn that crosses the track there]

It runs in a slightly irregular route north till it reaches old coal and ironstone pits in the vicinity of North Urquhart farm.

Once again it path can be tracked by following some of the remaining inspection/repair shafts marked by enclosures for example:

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=tbb10ygq91xv&lvl=18.92&dir=353.5&sty=o&eo=0&form=LMLTCC [either side of the burn]

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=tbbqgngq8vbp&lvl=19.04&dir=2.53&sty=o&eo=0&form=LMLTCC [another three, the most northerly probably being the final shaft ......... there are probably shafts in the woods to the south]

To the immediate north of the northern shaft were the Urquhart pits (including Jeannie Pit an ironstone mine) and to the immediate north east Pittencrieff Colliery.

This area was intensively mined in the 18th and 19th century for the export trade and then latterly to fuel the industrial revolution. The area between the A994 and A907 (Crossford -
Milesmark and Balridgeburn) is riddled with abandoned workings at very shallow depths. This is the reason that Dunfermline has never spread west and continues it ceaseless spread east (there cannot be many inland towns of its size with its town centre on the edge of the town Blush ). There was a proposal in the late 1980's to stabilise the area by a combination of grouting and opencasting, but it was dropped in favour of the current developments to the east and south east of the town.
IP: 79.70.204.170
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