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Star Mines, Shipham

These mines have been known by cavers for several years but no actual account of them has appeared before in the caving press as far as the Editor is aware and so Neil Watson's contribution must be regarded as a key articleÂ…

Two shafts on an area of gruffy ground opposite the Star Inn on the A38.  One close to a small wood of holly and blackthorn, the second out in a field reclaimed from mine waste.

The first shaft was found last year along with others located along a sunken track leading to Shipham village.  The second is marked by a large block though there is enough room alongside to sling a ladder.


5ft of ginging (safe) to a small slope blocked at 20ft by a mass of tin baths, bones and brushwood. Two levels head off at this point SE and NW.  SE slits into two branches, one leading into a small chamber.  The second is very tight and low, passes a second chamber to finish in a boulder filled shaft - opportunities for clearing good but awkward.

NW is shorter - 25ft. and terminates in a choke from surface.  The shaft itself continues a further 5ft. below this to a choke.


Ginged at top 3' - 4' probably unstable and hanging.  Initial 20ft is vertical with a level leading E.  The shaft continues a further 30ft on to a large boulder choke. An off cut from the foot of the shaft leads into a westerly trending level -roomy and ascends 20ft into a small chamber and a short step leads into a tighter section of level terminating in a choke.  A second level leads back to rejoin the shaft behind a wall of deads.  At the bottom of the 20ft section (vertical) of shaft the E trending level carries on over stacked deads and branches.  Left leads by way of another tube into a small chamber. Right, after a duck under a low roof carries on E and rises to a chocked shaft.