Swan Mine (also known as Kingsdown Quarry)

NGR ST 81019, 67022

With members of the Axbridge Caving Group (ACG), underground about 2 hours.

The entrance to Swan Mine

Entrance located opposite the Swan Inn public house. There were originally three entrances. A small but interesting stone mine (Freestone) where extraction is believed to have started in the late 18th century and ended in 1932. It is thought to be the last operational stone mine in the UK to remove stone using horse and carts – wheel ruts are a predominant feature throughout the mine passages, a few hoof-prints still remain. A major attraction of the mine is the numerous artefacts that are still in-situ including a well-preserved crane, a second crane has been crushed under a rockfall, a fine carved stone trough, and a variety of other industrial paraphernalia.

There are abundant historic markings throughout the mine related to quarrying activities sadly many markings have been defaced by unnecessary graffiti and, in places, calcite deposition.

A mixed panel of markings including quarrying related, a possible depiction of ‘Hitler’ and a poorly placed spray paint direction arrow!

Mostly easy walking although there are places where scrambling over rocks and negotiating lower sections is required. An interesting couple of hours spent wandering around and taking photographs. Some decent fossils were also noted, in particular, corals perhaps evidence for Jurassic reefs.   

Coral group
A stop to admire some hoof-prints
A dead end!