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We've been exploring old mines and the odd cave for a while now, almost 20 years since I first put step into an old mine, for my father its been far longer as he grew up around the coal mines and he's now in his 70's. 

How I came to explore old mine workings was a bit strange really; as a child my father would talk about the times that he spent working the coal seams of South Wales, this gave me an inherent interest in machinery and the general mining industry. Over many years I would drive by many of the forgotten tunnels that lay dormant all over the North East, always having been told to never enter because of the dangers that would be found inside.

One day I decided that I would actually like to find out exactly what was supposed to be inside these 'dangerous' tunnels, within that moment -an interest was born. I had to find out about mining in the Pennines, find out about photography to show people my findings and also learn how to safely enter and explore abandoned mines and caves.

The time I entered my first mine, I had nothing more than a keyring torch which was part of the car keys - it was amazing how quickly ones eyes adjust to the darkness with such a poor light. I didn't venture very far at all but laying in my bed that night thinking about the day, I realised what a fool I had been to think that a watch battery operated keyring torch was possibly the only thing that I could rely on at that moment to keep me safe!

My lighting and knowledge was poor, what exactly was in there that I couldn't see? What dangers had I put myself in?

I researched the mines in the area, caving techniques, lighting and safety information etc. I purchased a miners head lamp, helmet and other waterproof back-up lighting that I could use. I grabbed my old tripod and compact digital camera and proceeded to return to the mine to take some better photos.

Over a period of time, my experience grew - I learned about how to detect serious dangers in the mines such as false floors, poor air quality and structural hazards. I also spent a lot more time in the pitch dark experimenting with different camera settings trying to capture an image which were 'better than eye' (long exposure photography).

One thing lead to another and over several years the cheaper equipment got upgraded to better quality and professional gear. I hoped to be able to take some photographs that capture the beautiful formations and history that is found within the tunnels, whilst remaining safe in the knowledge that my equipment is up to the job and can take a fair beating before it will give in.

Eventually the photography gave rise to point of view videography and trail cameras with a new challenge of being able to produce enough light so that the eternal darkness of a mine could be lit with enough power to produce usable video footage. High power HID lighting and quality CREE lamps were the answer and are capable of producing more than enough light over a long period of at least 13 hours to enable us to capture satisfactory results.

Since then, a work colleague who shares an equal amount of interest and drive has become invaluable with another pair of eyes and experience to help share the discovery and knowledge of these hidden places. It is amazing that there are still so many undiscovered workings with very little information relating to the site that continue to exist, hidden away in the hillsides and moorlands of the North East Pennines. Between all of us, we hope to share our discoveries in a safe and enjoyable way that you can view from home as we continue to produce photographs, movies and host exhibitions displaying the snap shot in time of these forgotten places.

Information about our website:

Our website is privately owned and completely non-profit making, indeed it costs us both time and money to keep the site live. All movies are hosted on our YouTube channel with links from this site (with exception of our 360 degree movie which is hosted on our site). You can access all movies directly within YouTube if you search for '', please consider subscribing via YouTube if you would like to receive a notification when we upload a new exploration movie.

We've now also started a FaceBook page which you can find by searching for 'MineExploration' where by our most up to date pictures, movies and some general info about old places that we've visited. Generally we'll update the FaceBook page around once a week or more often if work permits.

Please observe the safety notice at the bottom of all of our website pages. 

This page was last updated: 1/8/2018

Latest update: More 360 degree places added!. Loads of movies recently added in the Weardale area including Groverake, Skears and Frazers Hush mines.

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Safety Notice: To enter a disused mine is extremely dangerous and my result in serious or fatal injury, recovery from an accident would place rescue persons involved in serious danger and in the event of a ground collapse, recovery may be impossible. You should not enter a disused mine or working without training under any circumstances. Respect private property and seek permission from the respective land owner where required, always act responsibly and always inform someone else of your whereabouts.

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