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Engine Vein


Engine Vein Mine is perhaps one of the oldest sites of mining at Alderley Edge with finds of stone hammers dating it to the Bronze Age. Roman coins found in a shaft, now called Pot Shaft, and archaeological excavation of that shaft where established it to be Roman, dug in the first century AD.

The workings that can be seen today were more than likely to have been due to the activities of Mr. Charles Roe during 1755 - 1771 and a Company of men from Stockport between 1804 - 1810. The mineralised sandstone on the southern side of the vein was extensively mined by the Alderley Edge Mining Company between 1860 and 1877 and may have been mined again by other persons during 1911 and 1919.

The earlier workings at Engine Vein are unlike those of the West and Wood Mines in that the ore was mined along the fault rather than from dispersed pockets throughout a larger area.  However, the later 19th century mining is the same as in Wood Mine and West Mine and the Alderley Edge Mining Company connected Engine Vein to their works by two ore chutes and a tunnel about a mile long: the Hough Level

The large deep scar (75 feet at its deepest) left by the open-casting of the Engine Vein fault attracted some foolhardy explorers in the 20th century, as did the other mines on Alderley Edge, and with them came the usual accidents. The opencast was capped in 1981 at a depth of about 25 feet to prevent inexperienced adventurers gaining entry to the mine by this route, an entrance was made into the mine at the side of the opencast and access is strictly controlled.

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Engine Vein Mine is located behind the Wizard restaurant, a short walk through the woods. It is marked by a large open scar in the outcropping sandstone, this is the Engine Vein fault.

The mine is easily recognised by exposed workings in the woods near the Edge.  The entrance is a securely locked hinged door on a side passage to the S side.

Walking passage leads onto the main passage after 50m.  Climb down of 3m.  Turn right (east) to short drop into chamber that was once in open air, now covered with concrete slab.  Vein can be seen in roof at end and in following chamber.  Steep descent leads to ore chute that connects to Hough Level.  Return past climb for steep slope down below old timbering in roof to drop to floor of main chamber bridged and with staircase down.  At bottom follow curve of main chamber round past hole in roof and down slope to end of mine at this level.  Just before the end, a low passage on right leads to Blue Shaft.  Quick way to Blue Shaft is to turn opposite way at bottom of staircase and follow a stooping passage down a slope.  Bear Pit (45m) is seen on left, leading from surface to the bottom of the mine where access can be gained to Hough Level.  Just beyond is the top of the inclined Blue Shaft that also leads to Hough Level.  There is a climbing route that avoids top section of Blue Shaft.  Returning to the main chamber and across the bridge is a continuation of the mine with further access to Bear Pit.  Near the end are some small coffin levels and a run-in from surface.  A crawl leads to a section of smaller passages near surface on fault heading West.  Most of Engine Vein is either excavated on the fault (Bronze Age to 18th century) or to the S of the fault (19th century).

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The mine is entered today via an adit dug open by the Derbyshire Caving Club in 1981.  Access to the mine is open to the public by prior arrangement with the Club.  For further information, go the pages on this website concerning visiting the mines.

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A virtual tour can be followed around the mine by clicking HERE.

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Go to the main photo gallery for more pictures of Engine Vein mine.

click a picture below to enlarge it

Bronze Age workings viewed from belowThe Roman coinsBear Pit ore chuteThe junction in Hough level
Bronze Age workings viewed from belowThe Roman coinsBear Pit ore chuteThe junction in Hough level
Digging Blue Shaft passage - laying the railwaySteps down through the main passageRing Shaft ore chutePart of the ladder way in Blue Shaft
Digging Blue Shaft passage - laying the railwaySteps down through the main passageRing Shaft ore chutePart of the ladder way in Blue Shaft

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Please note, some detail may not be shown at present for security and safety reasons.

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Last updated: 02/03/2019
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