This is not a study of the mines of the South East as there are a number of other web sites that cover the topic much better such as www.wcms.org.uk and www.croydoncavingclub.org.uk. This page is largely devoted to a trip by Club Members Nigel and Steve to the Reigate/Merstham/Godstone area in October 2005. We were kindly hosted by Andy and Jane of the Wealden Cave and Mine Society and a number of their friends including Robin, Paul and Malcolm and visited the hearthstone mines at Bedlam's Bank and Godstone and the Sand mines and tunnels at Reigate.
The area we visited was on the boundary of the chalk and lower greensand where the harder rocks of the upper greensand are exposed. The sketch map below shows the area as well as the basic geology of the Weald.
Below is a series of pictures from the various trips made over the two day weekend which left us with slightly sore legs and stiff necks over the following couple of days. A good time was had by all and we are very grateful to our hosts for their hospitality and leadership.
All photos are copyright Nigel Dibben and can be used for personal use only. For any other use, please contact the .
|At the entrance||General view inside showing the height of workings||Waste pack on the left and a pillar on the right|
|Typical workings in the older part of the mine||A neat pack on the left||Partly backfilled workings|
|Low workings||The working face in the background with Andy and Jane||A window mullion awaiting removal for 300 years|
|Jane near the end under the M23||Crawling over the concrete infill||A rare view of the original floor|
|Larger chambers||Larger chambers||... but still low|
|Blocks waiting to be finished||Yellow formations coloured by iron in the rock above||Partly backfilled passage|
|Panorama of formations||Redundant wooden props|
|Blocks of stone awaiting removal||Steve looking at the miner's poem||The miner's poem|
|Remains of a donkey or small horse||In the Far East||Looking at sledge ruts on the floor|
|Low passage in the Far East, but higher than further west||Miners' graffiti||More graffiti and a trough for a grinding wheel|
|Near the entrance with recently installed pillars||Typical Godstone passage with white painted walls from the mushroom-farming era||A larger worked out area with timber supports|
|The working face||A good cross-section of the local geology||More random passages in the western part of the mine|
|Rail tracks on the floor||A composite picture showing the extent of the stopes||Graffiti from 1876|
|Reigate road tunnel from the south||Looking through the tunnel||Looking out to the Tunnel Vaults|
The plaque over the entrance of the tunnel which is the oldest road tunnel in the country still in use
|The recently dug entrance to the sand mines||In the sand mines||In the sand mines|
|Graffiti from tourists in 1862||A group of visitors in the main tunnel||Another section that was formerly designated as an air raid shelter|
|The blast door rescued from the council offices||Carvings from the second world war||General view of the smaller tunnels|
|Not quite as old as it looks!||Brick supports holding up the town hall car park||Modern steps|