Stone Mine Workings
The stone mines at Combe Down were oolite limestone mines, mainly worked in the 18th and 19th century. The Bath stone used for many of the buildings in Bath was mined from beneath and around Combe Down. The mines were closed in the 19th century but building work continued above ground with some roads and houses eventually resting on only a thin crust, in places only 1m – 2m deep, above large underground cavities with inadequate support.
A central government-funded project began in late 2005 to stabilise and fill the abandoned mine workings. Bath and North East Somerset Council approved the planning application in June 2003 and approximately 760 village properties were included within its boundary. All mine workings inside the boundary of the planning application were stabilised.
Over 40 quarry sites have been identified but only one working quarry (Upper Lawn Quarry) remains on the edge of the village, located off Shaft Road, which supplies Bath stone to the city and more widely across the UK.
Properties in the affected area were Surveyed before and after the stabilisation. When purchasing a house in this area copies of the reports should be obtained together with the certificate confirming completion of works. When carrying out a pre-purchase Survey in the area we would pay very close attention to any signs of cracking to the internal and external walls, windows and doors would be checked for sticking and binding and internal joinery carefully inspected for signs of disruption.
It has been noted that as a result of the stabilisation of the underground mine workings, there have been problems relating to surface water drainage and a small number of properties in the area have been damaged as a result of the works. Opencast quarries or mines in the area have, in some cases, been found to be filled with waste materials before being built over. In a small number of cases the waste materials have been found to be contaminated and therefore it is sometimes recommended that a Geotechnical Report be obtained prior to purchase.
There are a number of other areas around Bath where stone has been mined. Examples include the village of Box between Bath and Corsham.
Further information relating to the mines in Combe Down can be found by following the link below.