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Old Fall Level, First Explore (31/08/14).

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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 falls.

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.