I had a chance conversation with Russell from Crook Bank Cottage,
and when I mentioned being a mine explorer, he said that there was a level on
his land and if you want to have a look at it, come over. How can you say no.
Russell had mentioned that he had cleared a lot of it out in the past and had
had a good look around. It did not go far, only 300m or so, but he always felt
there was a draft at the end. Time to check it out.
Wanting to look at
some workings near Nentsberry Bridge, we parked there and then walked upstream
on the north side. Having seen the workings, we then crossed the Nent and found
the Crook Bank Level on the south side. The adit and culvert was overgrown, but
once inside we found the floor to be clear and the stone arching in very good
condition. A short distance in and we came to the remains of an ore truck.
Carrying on past this, eventually the stone arching gave way to bare friable
shale and sandstone, however the level ahead was still in good condition -
Russells clearing work. The floor was mostly clear of debris and was calcified
in long stretches - a shame that we had to walk over it. The unarched level was
typically shaped and pick marks could be seen in the walls. We also noticed to
the side of the rails, clog prints in the mud. The rails were mounted on cast
shoes and these were held down with metal pins. After about 250m we came to a
crosscut on the right, this we worked out to be the junction with the
Grassfield North Vein. This part of the level was in a poorer state, and we
soon were walking over or above roof timbers. A short distance more and we came
to a fall, about 30m from the junction.
Returning back we noticed some
iron bars at the junction and then we headed on along the level. Past the
junction the ground got a lot worse and after 20m or so we came to a little
crosscut heading left and right and past this almost straight away a fall. End
of the road. In the crosscut, the left branch was a complete fall and to the
right, it was possible to get up the rubble slope and look into a cavity. It
was here with your head and upper body blocking the entrance that it was
possible to feel a slight draft of air.
We turned back and made our way
back out to the surface., wondering if there was any mileage in having a poke
around at the fall on the main level?