It started in 2011 when we heard of a +100m deep mineshaft on Bradwell Moor with a waterfall near the bottom which had prevented previous exploration. Ready for some adventure Jim, Katie and I had a few trips and found that there was plenty to go at. Water levels were average and the wet descent, or more memorably the prussic, was pretty hardcore. However landowner concerns plus worsening weather encouraged us elsewhere and it was reluctantly added to the “to do later” list.

Later came after 5 years, when our appetite for adventure once again grew. Eased by the hangers all still in place and in good condition, me n Luke rerigged the place ready for a first pushing trip with me n Henry the following week. We went prepared, myself with a baseball cap under my helmet and Henry with a 30cm hose to use as a snorkel! In the end the water levels were much lower and the descent was unpleasant but not dangerous. It’d be awesome in winter!

In the small chamber you land in three ways lead off, all which we’d left wide open. SW ended in a worked out vein which required bolts to get down. After minimal rigging unfortunately all ways closed off quickly in some very small, dry workings. Here we are nearly 10m below the static water at the bottom of the main shaft, so obviously there’s more drainage below, somewhere.

A small side passage to the South leads to a parallel vein with a strong draught disappearing into multiple teetering piles of death. It seems all the rubbish rock was stacked on-top of timbers, most of which have now rotted away. A few further side passages lead nowhere fast, and we headed back to the main shaft. South leads to the bottom of a climbing shaft, also taking a small draught. Freeclimbing up, ferreting through the old timbers, got us a little way but the next bit was too necky for now.

The last way on is to the East, where a small section of backfilled passage makes you crawl through against the roof, to soon drop into a nice walking sized cartgate. Just as this gets going it too reaches a collapse, so the only route is up and over. The rocks here are extremely loose but as you’re mostly on top of it all you end up mostly surfing your way along. The final collapse had a small route down the back, but no draught ensured I retreated.

Blocks above the Cartgate

Back up the main shaft a little way, the water issues from a passage that has many natural elements around it. It continues in a strange zigzag fashion for ~30m before it reaches a probably-mined blockage. The water issues from a small crack at the bottom. This is a good lead for the future, I think.

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