Carsington Pasture Cave Dig


In the late 1990'S the Pegasus Club was contacted by the Wirksworth Mines Research Group to see if we'd be interested in taking a look at some natural stuff they'd found whilst undertaking a mammoth survey of all the abandoned mine workings and shafts (some 300+) on Carsington Pasture. The contact was made through Arron Smith, who at the time was working with a WMRG member and had built up a rapport through their shared interest in the Derbyshire underground scene. Since their interest was solely confined to Mine Research and history, they gave us a key and permission to explore and dig at the bottom of Carsington Pasture Cavern.


A small group of us, Tony Bennett, Malc Scothon, Aran Smith, Al Steans and Andy Walchester started exploring the cavern and digging there at the bottom where it appeared to be flooded or possibly sumped. It was not a particularly easy dig (are any of them ?), and the prospects were not good. One day on exitting the cavern we were gobsmacked to discover that a group of moto-cross enthusiasts were practising driving up artificial ramps, flying through the air and landing on a target area directly atop a large underground aven in Carsington Pasture Cavern. They were totally unaware that a mere few metres of Derbyshire limestone separated them from 200 ft of nothingness and a potential watery grave. Of more concern to us was the fact that they didn't seem to care either.


This gave us the impetus to divert our attention to the long known about Carsington Pasture Cave, mentioned in Daniel De Foe's tour of England book circa 1513. Malc and I had happened upon the site totally by accident on our way back from digging in Carsington Pasture Cavern a couple of weeks earlier. Malc was quick to notice the potential of the site and the same small digging team plus Geordie Dave concentrated their efforts at the new site.


Progress was suprisingly speedy and relatively easy. The results were totally unexpected and equally dramatic. The rest as they say is history.

Al Steans Nottingham 2016

Time Team's Gallery

Part of the Pegasus Digging team, L to R; "Geordie" Dave Walker, Malc Scothon , Al Steans, Tony Bennett, Jo Hughes and Mick Pritchett.

Original stooping size entrance into Carsington Pasture Cave, this would have been walking size in the past when it was used by the old lead miner and his family.

Heavy duty coal mining rubber conveyor belt lining route from entrance chamber into FLASID Chamber.Also note ventilation ducting and lighting system rigged in side of passage.

Scaffolding and shoring at top of dig from entrance chamber down into Yoricks.

Shoring in the dig down from the entrance chamber, originally a short ladder pitch.

Scaffolding and Shoring in the dig shown from another angle.

Somewhat restricted entrance to the crawl leading to chamber 2, at the bottom of the dig from Yorick's.

Example of the flexible ducting used in pumping fresh air to the lower confined regions of the cave, ventilation engineering courtesy of Mark Noble and Wendy Joule, Debyshire cavers co-opted onto the team by the DCRO & the HSE.

Geordie" Dave Walker thoroughly looking forward to another stint of mud shovelling in FLASID Chamber.

Time Team superstar Tony Robinson disdainfully regarding the solubrious surroundings at the entrance to FLASID Chamber.

Dave Epton (Pegasus) regarding some of the formations in the newly discovered extension at the bottom of Yorick's.

Indication of false calcite floor in Yorick's, further digging in this vacinity led to a breakthrough into the second chamber and sunsequent evidence of activities by the Ol' man.(Derbyshire Lead Miner from past ages)

Two fine Calcite columns and mineral deposits in the wall of Yorick's chamber.

Stalagmites, stalagtites and calcite columns at the far end of Yorick's chamber.

Pristine calcite formations in the roof of Yorick's chamber furthest away from the entrance.

Human Skull calcited into cave wall behild two stal columns at the bottom of the entrance climb into the first newly discovered chamber.( Later to be named Yorick's Chamber, after Shakespeares most famous skull.)

Time Team Expert on larger animal bones getting ready for Time Team TV interview.

Andy Chamberlain and Alice Roberts perusing and discussing recent finds.

Alice Roberts in Time Team tent preparing another trayful of small animal bones for examination.

Alice Robert's assistant examining and catalogueing finds on site at Carsington.

Member of Time Team crew hosing down and sieving mud taken from FLASID Chamber to try to locate more Roman coins and artifacts - A thankless task.

Selection of human & animal bones displayed in Time Team tent on site at Carsington Pasture.

Selection of human & animal bones displayed in Time Team tent on site at Carsington Pasture.

Selection of human & animal bones displayed in Time Team tent on site at Carsington Pasture.

Selection of human & animal bones displayed in Time Team tent on site at Carsington Pasture.

Three adult human skulls, complete apart from lower jawbone.

Three adult human skulls, complete apart from lower jawbone.

© Photographs on this page are copywright of 'Time Team'.