Persons on trip- Dave W, Larry, Sean, Ian, Dan H, Andy H, James
Seven of us met up at the Holly Bush Inn at Grangemill (mugs of coffee just £1!) We were slightly down on the expected number as unfortunately one person had suffered a breakdown (mechanical that is!)
A quick drive up to Pikehall followed, where we parked and kitted up. Fortunately we were blessed all day with “Indian Summer” weather conditions which made the 10 minute walk to the mine entrance most pleasant.The mine is a contender for the “Best Marked Entrance” award with its large “PDMHS Mouldridge Mine” plaque on the door.
The mine was worked for about 100 years from the late eighteenth century and then, surprisingly again in the twentieth century (more on this later). Entering through this adit entrance was followed by an easy walk which soon brought us into the large Dressing Machine Chamber where we found a number of rusting artefacts.
The flat almost circular floor in the centre of the chamber almost resembles a dance floor so – Only yellow hand bags allowed on this dance floor!
Around The Chamber there then radiates a myriad of interlocking “Hobbit Hole” style workings at different levels which were fun to explore.
We continued downwards. One amusing vertical tube could be likened to “dropping through the loo” and some members impressed further by climbing back up into it!
At one point we met an another party of 3 which resulted in an intense (and hopefully successful) [Ed: It was] recruitment campaign by Larry! Much of the rest of the mine was explored except for the “Banana Slide” area which is currently unstable
According to PDMHS Bulletin (vol 9 no. 2) the most recent mining activity was undertaken by two small consortia of local men firstly in the late 1940’s and again in the early 1950’s
The first consortium invited a third member to join as he had just won £2000 on the Football Pools! Apparently this same person went on to have a close shave in the mine when a winch caught his overalls. Luckily, as the overalls were so rotten they were completely ripped off leaving him unharmed!
Needless to say, no further fortune was made through their mining exploits!
The 50’s consortium apparently worked it at weekends for a couple of years, so it sounds like it was done as a more of a hobby than anything else.
In 1975 PDMHS gained permission to remove two crushers and a jig from the mine and these can now be seen at the Society’s outdoor display at Crich Tramway Village
Once we resurfaced the surrounding area was explored for other remains in the vicinity. [Ed; shafts spotted and a large bird of prey observed] Afterwards some of the group retired to the Miners Standard to enjoy the sun (and re-hydrate!) Overall a very interesting, compact and accessible mine!
Thanks to Sean for arranging it!