Jugholes - Alan Brentnall

Tuesday, 4 October, 2016

Before the main event up at Jugholes, I met up with Pete at the New Bath Hotel. We had agreed to take a walk to look at an adit up by the footpath near Harp Edge opposite Masson Mill. I can't find a name for this adit, although there is some discussion about it on http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?t=7248 including some contributions from Adam and Phil. We ascended the stepped path opposite the Masson Mill complex, and, at the crossroads of paths turned right and found the very obvious entrance. It's a walking size passage of about 200m in length which passes under some workings, and at one point daylight could be seen.

After examining a couple of dead-end side passages, we climbed up into the woods and quickly found the source of the daylight - a small ginged shaft, protected by a partly dismantled beehive cage. An old hawser-laid nylon ship's rope had been tied to a nearby tree and, we assume, used to enter the shaft, but the rope was now scattered around by the entrance. Leaving the mine, we followed an obvious rake up the hill and traced a path across to Ball Eye quarry, and back over to Wapping Mine and back to the New Bath Hotel. An interesting area, with lots of evidence of mining. It would be nice to go one one of the PDMHS interpretive walks round there with somebody who has an idea of what's what.

Worryingly, our return to the usual parking spot at the New Bath Hotel coincided with the arrival of a very posh convertible car. The driver got out and, without a word to either of us, placed a couple of "no parking" cones across the entrance to the road where we were parked, before driving into one of the houses at the far end. It was then that I noticed that our cars were the only cars parked, and even the caravan which had been on the parking spot for the last year or so had gone. Perhaps things are changing? After a chat and a fish supper in Matlock Bath, Pete and I headed up to Salters Lane, where we met up with eleven others at the junction with the Masson Lees quarry track. Once everybody was changed and kitted up up, we headed across the field into Jugholes Wood. The plan was to look at some of the more esoteric bits of Jugholes, starting with the Old Man workings of Noon Nick Vein just off the Third Water Cavern.

We arrived at the entrance to the Lower Series, and Jess set about rigging a handline down the steep, muddy climb. Thirteen was a big group to take into the crumbly old workings, and, as three of the party hadn't been to Jugholes before, Jess and I agreed to lead a group through the standard trip down to the sough entrance, while the rest examined the workings. This went without a hitch, although I think the newcomers were quite surprised at the size of some of the caverns. Exiting the gate at the end of the pipe, we tried without success to find the old turntable. The sough tail path is now very much overgrown, and it was difficult to see anything much at night. Turning up the hill, we hiked back to the 2nd Water Cavern and had a look at the 20th century fluorspar workings down in the bottom left of the entrance.

This series is totally different from the old style mining; like Longrake Spar Mine, only on a much smaller scale. A very interesting series, with lots to look at. The Jugholes Interpretation Pack which Gordon Fiander and Dave Webb put together in 2002 is excellent for explaining what you are actually looking at, and, as promised, I emailed last night's cavers with a copy of this useful book as a pdf. Eventually all thirteen of us re-united in the 2nd Water Cavern and retreated to Salters Lane before heading into Winster for a chat at the Miner's Standard