Underground Wiltshire: Swan Mine/Kingsdown Quarry

Swan Mine, also known as Kingsdown Quarry, is a relatively small Bath Stone mine. It began operation in the 18th century and was in use up until 1932. It was the last mine operational in the UK to remove stone by horse and cart- the hoof marks and cart tracks can still be seen today! A well preserved crane is hidden within its depths. Records from 1896 show there were just 13 people working the mine, significantly less than in others nearby. At least two miners are known to have been killed by collapses whilst working the mine. Parts of the quarry were worked by up to three different quarrymasters at the same time.

We spent around three hours wandering through this mine, covering most of the subterranean maze. At times we had to clamber over rock falls and rubble, and up and over slippery slopes. We came across plenty of graffiti, both new and old, as well as old tools and carved stone horse troughs.