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.

After exhausting a few routes and coming across dead ends, we squeezed through a small opening that led further into the mine. Through trial and error we eventually came across two cranes left deep underground for years, one crushed by a large rock fall.

It was challenging to follow the map to navigate the mine, however our exit markings were very helpful on the way out. Do not enter the mine unprepared- never go in alone and always let someone on the outside know where you’re heading.

Last Updated on 22 September 2022 by Michael

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