Saturday 1 May 2021

Emergency services rescue two from abandoned mine in County Durham, England.

Emergency services were called to an abandoned mine in Teesdale, in County Durham, England, on Friday 30 April 2021, after two inexperienced cavers became trapped in a disused lead mine. The men entered the mine by wading through a flooded hush (mining trench) on Coldbury Level, then descending into a deep mine-shaft using a rope, but got into trouble within the mine and needed to be rescued. 

Emergency rescue workers at the Coldbury lead mine in County Durham, England, on 30 April 2021. Teesdale Mercury.

Hushes are a type of old lead-working found across much of northern England and Wales, the oldest of which date back to the late Bronze Age (about 1000 BC). They comprise an existing ravine or gully through which water has been divered in order to erode away topsoil, exposing a vein of lead, which was then worked with hand tools. The Coldbury Gutter Hush dates back to the eighteenth century, and is about 1700 m long, 50 m wide at its widest point, and about 30 m deep. At one end of this hush is a Victorian deep pit mine, with a number of associated buildings, all of which are protected as scheduled monuments.

The Coldbury Gutter Hush in County Durham, England. Helen Wilkinson/Minedat.

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