Cornwall Underground Home

Cornwall Underground Home: The majority of these underground images on the next few pages, were taken in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I lost interest in photography for a few years whilst I was heavily involved in Cornish Mine Exploration. Since a simple accident in 2013 resulted in having two prolapsed discs in the spine, my exploration days are all but over.

Cornish Mining

Cornwall Underground Home 1 – This was taken around 300ft underground. This was an extreme trip, these holes are dotted all over Cornwall, maybe hidden by a small piece of rotten wood. My friend Dave is in the image. He and I went underground together for many years. We had a deep trust for each other and had a close eye on our backs. To go underground a good partner is required, usual practice is a minimum of three.

Sadly there was so much more I wanted to do. Due to recurring back pain and stiffness I cannot risk the safety of others when I go underground. There is a responsibility to oneself, and to those who accompany you. Please always remember that someone else has to take a risk to get you out.

Cornish Mining

Cornwall Underground Home 2 – Exploring Adits can be fun and often very very wet. Also they can be incredibly dangerous as often the entrances are collapsed or collapsing. 

As I used traditional 35mm cameras there can be an awful lot of kit to carry down the mine. I had considered switching to digital but it was too late to teach an old dog new tricks. It was alright dropping the shaft on a rope, however getting out was quite hard work. Especially with a camera bag hanging below you. On many occasions I wondered what the hell I was doing there.

Cornish Mining

Cornwall Underground Home 3 – Sometimes underground the sights are amazing and breathtaking. My friend Dave is in this image. He is holding a slave flashgun, this had a sensor that would fire a second flash when the camera shutter was released.

These pictures that I took and printed may not be the “pretty” variety, which show the startling colours which can be found in these places. Instead I go for the “grittier” images, those which capture the feel and the atmosphere of the mine along with trying to convey what the miners saw in their dim spluttering candles. Black and white film is often very grainy, this can add to the impact of the image in many ways.

Cornwall Underground Home

Cornwall Underground Home 4 – Very occasionally the explorer will find something very special, the pump rods in a shaft are very rare sight. To access this mine was a long drop on the rope, I hated the access shaft because there was nowhere to rest.

Most mines in Cornwall are accessed by shafts, some can be 3 or 4 hundred feet deep to water. Below this can be another 1 or 2 thousand feet flooded, fall in here and there will be no escape. Please don’t drop stones down, there maybe explorers underneath.

Cornwall Underground Home

Cornwall Underground Home 5 – Modern mines can be very interesting to explore however these shallow working can be very dangerous to enter.

Mine sites are not playgrounds and should be treated with respect. Never approach the edge of an unprotected shaft and NEVER drop rocks down, there might be explorers underneath. Its not only the shafts that can be dangerous, many Adits look safe to explore but stay away. Please never enter any of these if you lack the correct equipment and training. An innocent looking hole in the cliff can easily kill the unsuspecting and ill prepared explorer.

Cornwall Underground Home

Cornwall Underground Home 6 – This is the extensive drainage Adit of a mine in Cornwall that closed in the 1980’s. Sadly due to unauthorised access by so many “explorers” this site has now been securely gated.

I must say again, NEVER enter old Mine Workings without the correct training, experience and equipment. The fact that the images are on the following pages DOES NOT infer access. And this website does not accept any liability .

There are many groups in Cornwall active in underground exploration. Please check on the internet and go underground in safety with experienced explorers. Never take risks, never just pop in for a look. As has been proved in the past, this is when accidents happen. Due to these occurrences many mine workings in Cornwall have been lost to the exploring community.

Cornwall Underground Gallery 1

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