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Some Mines Of Broadfield Down

Nick Richards and Nick Harding

Cleeve Hill Iron Mines

Cleeve Hill Road, Cleeve, near Backwell NGR 4628 6524

These mines are located in woods just north of the road as it ascends Cleeve Hill. See figure.

Two main open rifts trending roughly east west are intersected by shorter north south cross rifts. There are short underground extensions. They have suffered from considerable tipping and the rifts are now less than 2m deep. The underground passages are probably more extensive.

The mines lie in limestone in an area of fairly intensive 19c iron workings, indeed on the hillside to the south are several groups of deep excavations (Kings Wood Iron Mines). The ore consisted of massive metallic heamatite and its weathered product, red ochre.

Rift 1.  L 58m VR 2m includes 8m underground. A pit 17m to the south and 2.5m deep lies along the same trend as a north south cross rift of rift 1

Rift 2.  L 15m VR 2.5m with 6.5m underground. A completely infilled section some 15m long lies immediately to the east.

To the east the nature of the local ore deposits can be examined at a small vein exposed in the excavations for a new barn. NGR 4643 6520

An east west vein in the limestone <30cm wide contains 4 cm of columnar calcite on either side of the fissure with a central core of massive hard black heamatite. This is streaked with veins and larger cavities lined with quartz. This siliceous content of the ore made it more difficult to smelt into iron.

Littler Plantation Iron Mines

North west side of Littler plantation, Wrington Hill. NGR 4738 6370

Numerous shallow linear trenches trending c west north west mark the sites of infilled iron mines in limestone. One shallow pit contains a festering pile of foxes. Another pit is partly open and is about L 7m

VR 3m, 1m wide. There is much rubbish and this is the home of, by far, the largest rat in the world.

Ball Wood Iron Mine

Ball Wood, Congresbury. NGR 45926410

Shallow north south trench L 9m and 1m deep leads to very short underground section 1.5m long. The small spoil heaps suggests very limited underground work was done.

Corporation Woods Iron Mine

Corporation woods, Congresbury. NGR 4605 6426

In area of extensive iron mining rifts and pits-all filled in.

Head sized hole in bed of track (dangerous for horses). Passage 3m long (?) and 1.5m deep heading north to old infilled mining trench.