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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Porthtowan, Cornwall
oolith

Joined: 30/03/2013

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 30/03/2013 20:48:10
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Hi Folks
I am about to move to Porthtowan in Cornwall and am keen to find out about exploring the mines in the area. I have been a caver for over 20 years (Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club), mostly caving in South Wales and the Forest of Dean, with occasional excursions to Yorkshire, Ireland, Vercour, Ukraine, USA. Does anyone know of any surveys etc?
Ta
Ben
IP: 176.25.115.72
justin205

Joined: 10/03/2013
Location: Hayle

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 30/03/2013 21:09:56
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Know Tywarnhayle like the back of my hand, could meet when your down for a tour? IP: 89.242.63.10
oolith

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 30/03/2013 21:18:09
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Thanks for the offer! I would love to explore what will soon be my local area both above and below ground. My e-mail address is bentruro@gmail.com drop me an e mail and we can arrange to meet up as soon as I have moved in!
Ben
IP: 176.25.115.72
justin205

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 02:27:05
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Agreed, but there has been access to this one for many years through three entrances, two of them not so long.

Think its so secure because the RSM used it up until late 80's early 90's so that could be the reason why there are those types of doors.? Because they have been there as long as ive been going there. Not saying im 100% right here but think of it as your garage, you would want that locked up wouldnt you when it wasnt in use.
But then, its right what you are you saying but, access is controlled by someone for every site we visit surely?? Confused

IP: 89.242.63.10
lozz

Joined: 03/08/2012
Location: Cornwall

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 07:22:06
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I seem to remember that Kevin Baker (Carn Brea M.S.) did some work/study/involvement of the set up at that mine some years ago, might be worth contacting him?

Lozz.
IP: 86.174.59.86
lozz

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 09:40:48
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justin205 wrote:

Could we not just keep all of this stuff 'under the radar' ? Visit as it is without asking why or when?

Lozz seen your st.austell post, keen to give a hand there. Have harness, ppe, etc.etc.. Camera? Photo diary?

Justin


Hi you've just popped your head above the radar....

Re: shaft capping, I am liasing with tomh on this one.

Lozz.
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justin205

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 09:51:24
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I imagine hundreds of people go there over the years, or repeat trips. What makes you say my head is above radar? IP: 89.242.63.10
lozz

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 10:19:45
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justin205 wrote:

I imagine hundreds of people go there over the years, or repeat trips. What makes you say my head is above radar?


Not saying they do, not saying they don't, if I have read the post correctly you seemed to suggest visiting the site under the radar then sign off with your name on a public forum.
I'm no saint, I have done lot's of under the radar stuff when I was younger, I personally don't do that now, I always try to get the owners/keepers consent as times have changed as regards to who can in practical terms sue who.
Long running hard won agreements between various landowners and mine exploring/history groups can be ripped up at will if the spirit or terms of these agreements is broken.

Lozz.
IP: 86.174.59.86
justin205

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 10:35:38
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I see what you mean about that. In most cases its always a good idea to ask permission, its always someones land/property, but free entry, or un restricted, access is always an issue surely? I dont want to get myself into any trouble here, i just would like to meet up with a new group of explorers in /around my area at some point and learn a bit more. IP: 89.242.63.10
oolith

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 10:44:24
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Hi Justin
Hope I haven't opened a can of worms here! In the caving world I always tried to stay out of 'Speleopolitics'. However, access arrangements are a topic worth discussion, especially as the poor behaviour by a minority can wreck access agreements that have taken a lot of work to secure. Having said that I must admit to having visited many sites over the last 25 years with 'dodgy' access with no bad experiences. I am keen to meet with a few local cavers / mine enthusiasts and explore the Porthtowan area. Is there an existing club in the area?
Ben
IP: 176.25.115.72
justin205

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 10:57:40
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There is a small local club, not any thing official, usually between 4 to 6-8 of us at times, meet every friday at half 6 and go from there. There is so much to explore, even in the ones we have done again and again! I will pm you a bit more.

I dont want to go treading on anyones toes, or my own infact, but keen to get out and have a good time with other people.

Justin
IP: 89.242.63.10
oolith

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 11:38:34
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Good news Justin
Would be good to join you.
I will be in touch as soon as I have moved to Porthtowan - should be exchanging contracts on 5th April. Blue Bar here I come!
Ben
IP: 176.25.115.72
stuey

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 12:20:35
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Chaps. There used to be access to Tywarnhayle. It is very secure now and poses no risk to anyone getting in there.

I was chatting to the "caretaker" of the site the other day who explained that the entrances would be "blown in" if anyone was found to be going in there. If you are going in any of the holes which are also in the area, you might not want to give the impression that you might have been "caving". The least that place gets mentioned, the better.

There was another "everyone goes in there, everyone puts pictures on the net" place which almost got filled quite recently. Mount Wellington to be precise. After the mine rescue fiasco, the police were also paying attention to what people were doing via these sites. Other people have the interwebz.

My own rule of thumb (which some would say was excessive) is posting above ground pictures of what is where (like adits and shafts) and the discussion of old maps. Then when a trip does happen, it is ALWAYS with permission.

IP: 87.115.64.101 Edited: 31/03/2013 12:35:55 by stuey
justin205

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 12:29:46
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''they are all now exceedingly secure and pose no threat to anyone getting into them at all''

when was the last time you seen this?
IP: 89.242.63.10
lozz

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 13:25:48
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Ok, I'm going to wade in again, at the begining of this thread caving clubs were mentioned, sounds obvious but caving and abandoned mine exploration are two different animals, some cavers will be familiar with abandoned mines, some maybe not, so far as I am aware most caves are natural formations, most mines are not, mines were bloody dangerous enough when men worked down them, they are potentially lethal when abandoned.
Anyone who is not familiar with mining methods pertaining to the type of mine to be explored should swot up on the subject, most of us know these methods, this can forewarn us of the dangers to look out for, anyone who doesn't and gets into these old mines with others of a similar ilk might as well put one slug in the barrel give it a spin and pull the trigger or wear a blindfold.
Pillars removed, hanging wall pressure, pulled out stopes, false floors that look like rock, blind covers that could be holding up more dirt than you can shake a stick at, a winze/raise under a shallow flooded level that you have been walking along with no problem, old timbers, gas from decaying timbers/metalwork, vegitation etc, no ventlation whatsoever, ventilation flows that can change without you knowing or between site visits, flash flooding, getting lost, just to highlight some.
Remember that sometimes it's just a series of unknown or seemingly unrelated events that are out to get you.
Maybe someone can refresh my memory, only a few years ago there was someone that was working/renovating an old abandoned shaft or something similar, could have been in East Cornwall or Devon, somehow a mistake was made and I think he plunged down, I believe he lost his life? It made the local TV news I seem to recall.

Have a nice day.

Lozz.
IP: 86.174.59.86
oolith

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 13:33:21
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Hi Iozz
You seem to know what you are talking about.
Yes I a primarily a caver, though I do have some experience of mine exploration in the Forest of Dean (Clearwell area) and Snowdonia (the Croesor - Rhosydd through trip) and consequently am very aware that caving and mine exploration are indeed very different.
Is there a local group for mine exploration you could recommend?
Ben
IP: 176.25.115.72
stuey

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 13:34:16
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One of the chaps at Combe Martin Silver/Lead mine in north devon had a shaft related accident and expired. IP: 87.115.64.101
lozz

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 13:44:10
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stuey wrote:

One of the chaps at Combe Martin Silver/Lead mine in north devon had a shaft related accident and expired.


Thanks, that location seems to ring a bell.

Lozz.
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lozz

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 13:50:19
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oolith wrote:

Hi Iozz
You seem to know what you are talking about.
Yes I a primarily a caver, though I do have some experience of mine exploration in the Forest of Dean (Clearwell area) and Snowdonia (the Croesor - Rhosydd through trip) and consequently am very aware that caving and mine exploration are indeed very different.
Is there a local group for mine exploration you could recommend?
Ben


Hi Ben, sometimes I know what I'm talking about sometimes I talk out of my arse.

Clubs/groups, I'm knocking on a bit or that's how I feel so for me it's mainly armchair exploration, not sure who's who down that end of the world these days but if you are in Porthtowan then you could join the Carn Brea Mining Society a knowledable bunch and/or just wait around on here as someone in the know would probably invite you along on a trip or point you in the right direction.

Lozz.
IP: 86.174.59.86
stuey

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Porthtowan, Cornwall
Posted: 31/03/2013 16:06:37
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There are several groups poking around and many people are in one or more of them. In fact, I'd say it was an aggregation of the general "lot". In no particular order. (*= internet presence)

1. Plymouth Caving Group *
2. Cornwall mine explorers club aka old mine rescue lot
3. Modern Rescue team *
4. Carbis bay crew * (some are associated with 3)
5. Camborne School of Mines *
6. Mineral Collectors.
7. People from the above's mates/enemies!

Back to the original question "who is about and are there any maps/surveys?" The above people are the who are about and the essential paperwork is as follows:-

1. "The hamilton jenkin maps". Someone will make a copy appear for you.

2. Dines ......Mining Region of the SW 1956, 2 vols (moorebooks)

Essentially, the old maps tell you where stuff was and Dines describes the layout of the lodes/levels/adits/shafts to a fair degree having used the MRO plans as templates for his descriptions. The record office has thousands of plans and to start wading into these is the thin end of a very fat wedge.

The Cornwall Mine Explorer's Club are a good bunch, have lots of very well experienced and amusing characters. Meet up on the first thurs of the month in Lanner send RoyM a PM on here. I'm usually busy on the weekends, so I don't tend to go on the trips, but various groups of us meet up and go down holes. Porthtowan is a great base for some classic trips and there are some absolute beauties.
IP: 87.115.64.101
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