UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => Peak District => Topic started by: Pete K on November 11, 2018, 05:11:52 pm

Title: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on November 11, 2018, 05:11:52 pm
Masson Quarry

Please note that cavers should treat access to sites in and around Masson Quarry as highly 'sensitive' right now and are advised to stay away from the site in the short term until contact has been made with the landowner.
There has been a resumption of groundworks at the quarry and heavy machinery is present. DCA were investigating the risk to the underground sites in the vicinity but unfortunately, the report has come in today that Gentlewoman's Shaft has been blocked by a large boulder. This is almost certainly a deliberate act to block access to the shaft. Thanks to Jacob (NUCC) for the pic.

DCA are already in communication with Natural England (SSSI land) and Derbyshire County Council (planning). Thanks to those who have supplied information on this matter. We request that cavers stay away from the area while DCA attempts to contact the owner and establish the facts.

Pete Knight
DCA Projects & acting Access Officer
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: alastairgott on November 12, 2018, 01:24:45 am
PK, as you know i'm still around, I could double check if you needed. Let me know where are you tomorrow, WS gave me the Peli.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: clarecharliecat on November 12, 2018, 05:59:16 am
The Peak District Lead Mining Museum in the Grand Pavilion. Matlock Bath, have the key to Youd's Level in the valley bottom, from there it is possible to get up to the Gentlewoman shaft (bit of a wriggle in places!). To borrow the key contact the Museum on 01629 583834 or The group who reported the blocking of the shaft came to borrow this key yesterday so at least they got underground.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: markpot on November 12, 2018, 07:13:35 pm
Loss of access hear would be aweful news. Definatly looks deliberate. So if they arnt quarrying, why all the heavy machines? You dont start moving earth on this scale for nothing. And the cutting of the trees in the qaurry??someone must know the score. Good luck Pete/DCA.Hope this can be sorted. This would be a major blow for caving in the area and a sad loss of a major part of the mining history of the area.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: AR on November 12, 2018, 08:48:05 pm
Having been up there myself for a look on Saturday, there's no doubt that the shaft entrance has been intentionally blocked; the digger tracks come up from the area of the old settling ponds up to the point where the scoopful of rocks and muck have been dropped. What is mainly happening is scrub clearance, which can be done quickly albeit messily with a 360 digger, so it may well be that if the intention is to bring the area back into use for grazing then the shaft blocking is a stock protection measure. Although some of the old mineral working permissions may not have lapsed, legally they would be required to go through a full review process (known as ROMP)with the County Council's mineral planning team before any opencasting could take place and AFAIK, there has been no such application for review to date.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: markpot on November 12, 2018, 09:19:49 pm
I kind of thought as much.if its stock protection,it would be a simple fix should the land owner approve. Whats going on with the trees in the qaurry then? To my mind,it all doesn't add up.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: owd git on November 12, 2018, 10:15:03 pm
Hi Adam& all, calling on farmer friends to gain info, will contact yourself / Pete K confidentially if needed  or on here with anything I can find out.  :thumbsup: Ric'. 
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on November 18, 2018, 07:41:40 am
The DCA wishes to thank you for your patience in understanding the delicate nature of the access issue at Masson Quarry and surrounding land at the moment.

Please understand the owner has a right to work their own land and do so safely. They are currently working within permissions: no planning permission is required to clear scrub or move earth and to date, Gentlewoman’s  shaft is still there but not accessible to us. Our access to Masson quarry or gentlewoman's has never been knowingly been formally agreed with the landowner and so we have never had a right, as such, to walk over the land to access the cave sites. Whereas our presence in the past may have been accepted, tolerated or gone unnoticed, it is possible that now the land is being worked the access situation may be different.

Communication, by mail, has now begun with the owner in an attempt to foster a good relationship and aid future access. We have also talked to and continue to communicate with other interested parties and planning authorities to make them aware of our concerns but to also gain a full understanding of any other issues and tensions.  We hope for a positive outcome for all concerned.

We ask for your continued support to work with us, so please:-

-Avoid going to Masson Quarry or Gentlewomans until further notice.

-Refrain from parking large numbers of cars in the lay-by, at the entrance to Masson Lees Farm when going to visit Jug Holes. (Large numbers of cars are having a negative impact on the businesses of both the owner of the quarry and Masson Lees Farm especially when cars are parked carelessly. Large or articulated vehicles need a lot of room to maneuver to access the track. We jeopardise access to Masson Quarry outright, if we are unthoughtful with parking, so please consider using other venues for large groups coming in individual cars or else car share or arrange a minibus. (This parking concern applies to both climbers and cavers who share parking here)

Many thanks for your cooperation

Christine Wilson
DCA Access and Conservation Team
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: markpot on November 18, 2018, 04:25:14 pm
Really hope this gets sorted.i dont think cavers have much impact up here, re parking ect because we are well informed(thanks pete :thumbsup:),i know its more climbers(not wishing to dis the climbing community as i climb my self).i am well intouch with the local climbers,and it seems,cavers know the score,climbers dont.Not wishing to stir it up,just info.Masson is a popular low grade sport climbing/dry tooling venue which will alway be poplular.whatever happens,bmc need to be informed /involved to have a uniform access agreement.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on November 18, 2018, 05:58:20 pm
BMC are in the loop on this and DCA will be taking a united approach in order to try and come to an agreement for both sports.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Madness on November 18, 2018, 06:42:53 pm
Is the work in the quarry not disturbing it's bat population?

I also assume that Gentlewomans hasn't been fully sealed.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on November 18, 2018, 07:52:13 pm
Gentlewoman's could be opened again with the owner's consent, it's just blocked at the top.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Madness on September 05, 2019, 10:09:43 pm
So, nine months have passed and as far as I'm aware no progress has been made towards re-establishing access to Gentlewoman's Shaft.
We were climbing in the quarry this evening. There were probably about ten people climbing there in total and the was no sign of the landowner trying to stop access to the quarry. I've been told that the official BMC view is that there are no access issues.

After climbing we fought our way through mega-brambles to the top of the shaft and it's still blocked. It looks like no one has been near it in a long time.

So, my question is - Did the DCA ever establish contact with the landowner and find out what is going on and why they blocked the shaft? Surely we can't just sit back in a state of apathy and let access be lost to Getlewoman's indefinately?
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on September 05, 2019, 11:19:06 pm
DCA volunteers tried several times to establish communications with the landowner and had no response. We are aware that climbing continues with no issues. DCA cannot say publicly that access is fine, because we simply don't know as there has been no response. What I can say is that cavers who have been discretely, but not secretly, returning to Masson mine have had no issues at all. Gentlewoman's is a bit different as it does have a big boulder on it which was quite deliberate. Again, with no response to offers of capping or fencing, DCA is powerless to do anything or pronounce access as usual etc...
If you wish to try to change the situation, then that is great. You'd be welcome to contact the DCA Access Officer and offer to approach the owner again. We all want the shaft open again, but what can be done without contact with the owner who, after all, has a legal duty to make mines safe on his land? DCA will no doubt do anything in it's power to restore access, but the landowner has the rights here and we can't act without consent. If you have a suggestion about opening Gentlewoman's again legitimately then awesome, get in touch!
Speaking as an individual caver now, not as a DCA representative, I would just crack on and cave. If you meet the owner, have a friendly chat and show him that cavers are as respectful and considerate as the climbers are. With any luck he might respond to offers of securing the shaft with caver access then.
Pete Knight
DCA Projects Officer
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: ttxela2 on September 06, 2019, 08:49:42 am
Thanks Pete

I was going to ask about Masson access the other day. Might have a wander around there next time I'm up that way  :)
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Madness on September 06, 2019, 12:41:35 pm
Does anyone know who the landowner is?
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on September 06, 2019, 02:31:23 pm
DCA does.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Badlad on September 06, 2019, 06:38:06 pm
Any actual dialogue been made with the BMC.  Maybe adopt a similar/joint position with them.  I can give you contacts for a couple of BMC peak access officers if you don't have them already. 
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Stoney Boy on September 06, 2019, 06:42:50 pm
It's the BMC Peak area meeting next week so perhaps a good time to raise this?
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: Pete K on September 06, 2019, 07:07:31 pm
If someone is willing to go the BMC meeting to see what they can find out then that would be brilliant. I'm already giving up 5 days of paid work for a DCA project his week in Cressbrook Dale so won't be able to attend. Again, feel free to contact the DCA Access Officer with this information, he won't look at this forum.
Title: Re: Masson Quarry Access
Post by: not_a_climber on September 06, 2019, 07:52:52 pm
I could go along to the Peak Area meeting and bring it up, it'd be nice to feel useful :)