A friend mentioned Old Fall Level to me about a year ago, and
looking for an afternoon potter type trip it sprang to mind. The level entrance
is situated under a rocky outcrop next to a mine shop. The entrance is
partially dressed as some of the top arching has fallen away. Entering in, we
soon discovered that the arching only goes a short way and you enter a little
chamber with large fractured rock slabs above you. Moving out of the chamber we
entered the level proper.
Just a little way in from the chamber we found
otter paw prints and then what looked to be the nest. The level to the vein was
clear of falls with only little bits of roof on the floor. It was soon apparent
that there was a lot of calcification, as the walls and roof started to display
flows and stalactites everywhere we looked. Both on the left and right hand
sides we noticed low narrow side passages. Some paralleled the level and others
seemed to lead in the direction of surface - a sign of older workings? Finally
we reached a junction, straight ahead gave access to the main stope and to the
left the level branched south west.
Taking the south west branch first,
we saw regular small stope workings above and eventually more spectacular
formations in the form of more stalactites and even cave like curtain flows.
Glancing around, on a pack wall ledge at first I thought I had seen a pile of
wooden ventilation trunking, but it soon became apparent that it was sections
of calcite remains from timber that had been covered and then rotted away -
amazing. A little further along and we came to a slope of fallen rocks.
Climbing over this dropped us back into the level and the end - stopped from
going further by a fall.
Going back to the junction we then started to
have a look at the main stope workings heading north east. Once in the stope,
there was a little hole straight ahead that you could crawl through, this lead
to a flooded sump or stope - not clear. Just before the hole we found some
traces of rough fluorspar. Bearing right we crossed some fallen rocks that
where calcified. A short climb up and then down brought us to a side level from
the stope on the left hand side. Entering this, we came across a multitude
stalactites and moving further in, a little grotto of them. This part was very
cave like and with the roof being low we took extra care to keep our heads and
backs well away from the stalactites to avoid breaking any off. Returning to
the stope, it soon gave out and we entered a high level with a pronounced curve
in it. Round the bend a junction came into view. To the left on a rock shelf we
noticed metal nails and pegs, with the pegs being around 100mm long and in very
good condition. At the junction in plain sight was some graffiti - WC 1840.
This was the end of the road. Both branches at the junction ended in
When we got back to the entrance point of the crosscut into the
stope, Pete had a quick look at the left branch of the stope. It involved
climbing upwards over falls and then getting over some holes in the floor. But
we did not follow and shortly he came back with nothing more to report. We made
our way out.