GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON
HISTORY OF GEOLOGY GROUP (HoGG)
THE HISTORY OF GEOLOGY AND MINING IN THE FOREST OF DEAN.
MAY 19-21, 2017
LED BY CHERRY LEWIS, IAN STANDING AND DAVID GREEN
... to comprehend what it was like [in the early 19th Century] trying to find iron and coal when the geology of the area was poorly understood.
My report of this field meeting is at historyofgeologygroup.co.uk/newsletter/ (in Newsletter 60) but only available to non-members from late 2017.
Stop 2: Clearwell Caves.
These are just S of Coleford, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England.
The caves have also been mined for iron ore and ochre pigment for artists, probably for over 4000 years, and mining here is amongst the earliest in the British Isles. We stopped here to visit the mining museum and to go on a tour through the mine workings and caves. Jonathan Wright, a Forest of Dean Freeminer and the current operator of this mine, led our tour. The caves and museum are open to the public, and specialist caving tours into the less accessible parts of the system can be arranged for experienced cavers.
The photo shows an old mine skip, plinthed on narrow gauge track and painted decoratively. It serves as a sign board for the caves. The figure on the R depicts a Forest of Dean Freeminer in working costume. It is based on part of a 15th Century church brass ('The Freeminer Brass') where it appears as a crest on a jousting helmet, on the Greyndour tomb in Newland church, Gloucestershire. The miner is wielding his pick and holding a 'nelly' in his mouth, the traditional Forest of Dean miners' way of holding a candle to light the mine. The load he is carrying on his back is probably the kind of wooden box ('billy') that was traditionally used by Forest of Dean miners, for carrying iron ore.
GPS: 51.771091, -2.614429
National Grid Reference (UK): SO 57700 082225
Postcode: GL16 8JR
(NOTE: These refer to the entrance to the main building, cafe and museum, from where we descended into the mine workings. The caves and mines extend a long way beneath ground, and there are other entrances not normally accessible to the public. True locations of my set of photos at Clearwell Caves may therefore differ from the generic one above.)
Brian Roy Rosen
Uploaded to Flickr July 23rd 2017
© Darkroom Daze under Creative Commons.
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Uploaded to Flickr by Darkroom Daze on 23 July 2017
Photo © Darkroom Daze, 23 July 2017. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons licence