Greenside Mine (Patterdale) In 1992 the Lucy Tongue level was re-opened with the permission of the landowner (Lake District National Park Authority) which led to four serious collapses having to be cleared by a major campaign (shared with COMRU and MOLES)installing steelwork, spilling into the collapses and excavating the spoil. A further major collapse just short of Smiths Shaft was dug through in 2003 involving the transporting of large amounts of material in bye for a distance of up to a mile underground. Had this work not been carried out access to the mine would have been severely restricted. (This project was completed in time for NAMHO 2004).
Hudgillburn Mine (Alston, North Pennines)was re-opened in1996, the entrance portal through soft ground was completely excavated and the stone arching rebuilt (probably to a higher standard than originally), the site was completely re-instated and a stream diverted to protect the renewed lining. Work then continued to try and dig through the collapsed workings to access the Sun vein without success due to a lack of space to put the debris. The rise to provide access to the famous natural “Cavern” was cleared and ladders installed. In 2013/14 the Moldywarps Speleological Group surveyed the cavern which is now the largest known “Maze” cavern in Britain at 13.24 km and is of national significance.
Silvergill Mine (Caldbeck) In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in conjunction with Dr S Murphy and Dr R Smith surveying work on the surface coupled with archive research led for the first time to the discovery of the major German workings (started circa 1560’s) on the Caldbeck Fells. The discovery of the middle of the three levels known as the New Stoln was re-opened with the permission of the landowner (Lake District National Park Authority) which is virtually as the Germans left it and the 15 fathom shaft down to the Emanuel level full to the top with rubble was cleared. This also led to the discovery of what is now of national importance “evidence of the earliest known wooden waggonway in Europe” which ultimately led to the birth of the railway. This discovery was presented in a paper to the Fourth Early International Railway Conference held at University College London in 2008. In addition, a wooden hand shovel was found underground which was carbon dated to 1020-1200A.D. and makes the mine the oldest proven site in Cumbria.
Grey Crag Level (Coniston Copper Mines) was blocked by a fall from the stopes above, closing the through route of descent from Leverswater Mine down through Top level and Middle level. The fall was removed, steel support installed along with timber lagging and a large quantity of spoil placed on the roof to protect against further collapses. Apart from the through route this work has permitted access to the inner end of the level.
Middlecleugh Upper Level, (Alston N Pennines)In 2006 the entrance was re-opened as a joint project with the now defunct North Pennines Heritage Trust. It had been re-opened in the late 1960’s but was closed again in the 1980’s. The collapse was about eight meters in-bye and the stone arching had to be rebuilt which was completed in March 2007with the original gate being re-furbished and installed back in place.
Tilberthwaite Mine,(Coniston)Starting in 2009,the 1000-yard-long Horse Crag level has been re-opened after seven years of work digging through three major roof falls to reach the ore pass from the upper workings. This involved spilling through the debris and installing steel and timber with hundreds of tons of debris being stored underground in a slate close head and by building a packwall which is some 130 yards long, at least three feet deep and in places twenty feet high.
Paul Marvin has made a video showing the scale of the achievement, which can be viewed here.
Carrock Mine, (Caldbeck) In 2011 the entrance to the main level at known as the “Canadian” level was re-built as it was when the mine closed in the 1980’s. The entrance had been pulled in and additional material dumped to prevent access, however the slimes from the milling operation in the 1980’s which had been pumped into the old workings and held back by an underground dam, were finding their way through the drainage pipes and slowly closing the entrance up. To prevent a potential pollution incident if the entrance ever became completely sealed, negotiations between Dalmain Estates as the landowner, the Lake District National Park Authority, Environment Agency, Natural England and English Heritage (who provided the funding for the materials required) allowed the society to re-open the entrance. This was a very delicate project as the site is a SSSI and a scheduled monument. In addition, the project was able to secure £20,000 of funding through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme to carry out conservation work to the First World War crushing mill and install an interpretation panel on site. Natural England also paid for a geological survey of “Smiths vein”.
Kernal Level (Coniston Copper mines) Permission was negotiated from the landowner, LDNPA, English Heritage and English Nature to dig open the collapsed entrance to Kernal Level. The collapse was protected with steelwork, and a gate fitted in accordance with the conditions of the permission. The mine was found to be in a heavily collapsed state, but was explored, surveyed and photographed. A report can be read in CATMHS Journal No 6, recently published.
In 2009 published CATMHS Journal No 6, ‘The Mine Explorer’
The Society organised and ran the annual meeting of the National Association of Mining History Organisations at Coniston in July 2004.
Levers Water mine (Coniston Copper Mines) has been re-opened after consultation with the Lake District National Park, English Heritage and the landowner. A large amount of material had to be removed to allow the mine to be de-watered. Steel and timber support has been installed to the entrance, as part of the agreement to permit re-opening a locked gate was fitted to protect the natural features of the mine. Access is available to the public upon application. Continuous maintenance visits are required to clear debris falling from above. Photographic records have been made of the interior and representatives of the Lake District National park, National Trust and landowner have been taken underground.
An in depth study primarily by physical exploration, and limited archival investigation, has taken place into the North Wales Slate Quarrying industry. This has been ongoing for a number of years and has involved serious SRT development moving from hand driven “spits” via the use of aluminium extending ladders to the use of battery powered SDS drills. A magnificent collection of photographs (both above and below ground), along with an unparalleled knowledge of the area has been built up by the leader of this group. Recent activity has concentrated in the Corris area and has involved fascinating visits to areas that have not been seen for many years.
Archival and archaeological investigations are continuing into both the Coniston orefield and it’s mines and quarries and the North Pennine (Alston) orefield and its mines.
The second edition of the Alistair Cameron’s “Slate from Coniston” was published in 2005, the first edition having long sold out.
Significant financial assistance was given to fellow charity the Newland Furnace Trust in the form of an interest free loan of £7500 (since repaid) as bridging finance between submission of contractors’ invoices for major restoration work and repayment of expenditure by English Heritage.