In addition to the increasing requirement for long-term maintenance of the underground workings, there are a number of longer-term schemes that would significantly improve the mine. Most of these can be undertaken by the team as part of on-going restoration works with little additional cost requirement, but there are some major schemes that will require specialist input and a relatively large amount of external funding.
Clearing Deep Adit Level
One of the long-term aims is to continue to clear the blockage(s) in the Deep Adit Level upstream of the new winze. The next blockage appears to lie at the bottom of a backfilled stope or winze from No.1 Level, if so, it will be necessary to install supports as the collapse is removed.
At the same time as continuing the work in Deep Adit Level, work will continue on clearing out the collapsed deads on No.2 Level as far as the next winze - a distance of just over 20 metres. The winze is recorded on an old mine plan and is indicated to be 7.5 - 8.0 metres deep and to connect with Deep Adit Level. We estimate there is 250 - 300 tons of material to remove before reaching the top of this winze, which we estimate will take 2 - 3 years to complete, plus a further 1 - 2 years to clear out the another 60 - 70 tons of collapsed material in the winze. This would achieve another connection into Deep Adit Level and could facilitate the longer-term clearance of the Deep Adit.
Eventually, the proposal is to clear the remaining 8 - 10 metres of deads (approximately 100 tons) in No.2 Level, which would effectively make the entire level accessible and would access the old stope intersection in the floor of this level. Clearing away all the deads material from No.2 Level would also remove the radon sump at the back of the level, where the radon levels can be especially high. However, this is a major project and there is a huge amount of work and effort required to complete it.
THE BIG DIG - clearing out the back of No.2 Level
There are two other major schemes that would be of considerable benefit to the site, but both will require external assistance and funding:
Deep Adit Shaft
The timberwork in the access shaft into Deep Adit Level has become rotten and means that the ladderway is too unsafe to use. The shaft needs to be completely refurbished and the existing collar needs to be properly secured, thereby making the shaft a safe ‘secondary’ means of exit from Deep Adit Level. This is a relatively major piece of work and will necessitate the construction of a timber-lined concrete collar, set on a ring-beam; the installation of a new grid and access hatch over the top of the shaft; and the replacement of the existing ladderway. Some of this work will need to be undertaken by a specialist contractor and is estimated to cost approximately £15,000.
The remains of the 20th century dressing floors are falling into disrepair and require consolidation within the near future. These floors are one of the most complete and best preserved examples of their type in the county, but have reached a stage where they require some serious work to maintain their condition. This work would comprise:
(i) clearing all the vegetation and undergrowth;
(ii) re-pointing and capping the stone walls;
(iii) repairing the concrete floors and buddles; and
(iv) cleaning out and repairing the wheelpit.
This work would require the services of a specialist contractor who has experience at consolidating old industrial buildings. We estimate it would take at least six months to complete at a cost of over £125,000.
Without the ability to raise this level of funding these works cannot happen.