I had another of my regular visits to Force Crag Mine last week It’s becoming a very familiar site for me now that the mine project up there is beginning to gather a bit of pace. This time I was visiting the site with some of our partners in the project - the Environment Agency, Coal Authority and environmental consultants Atkins together with Natural England’s geologist. We were outlining our proposals regarding the mine-water treatment plant. As with any form of ‘development’ on protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), we need the consent of Natural England before any work can be carried out. It’s important that any developments do not damage the qualities for which a site has been designated SSSI. Force Crag Mine is listed as part of a Geological Conservation Review (GCR) site because of its national importance for the study of the formation of associated minerals (paragenesis). It lies entirely within the Buttermere Fells SSSI.
This time we were discussing in particular the discharge from the mine level just above the mine buildings where a few weeks back we installed a temporary flume. Here water is still getting around the flume and washing away the bank which supports the water gauge tank and ideally we need to be removing all the water away from this channel to prevent any further erosion. One possibility is to use the concrete cloth that is used by the Coal Authority for a temporary solution on many sites where temporary drainage is needed.
As a bonus I discovered a new variety of waxcap at the site - really nice with a distinct purple tinge to the gills and a glutinous slimy cap together with some earth tongues, another form of rare fungus that looks like black matchsticks - so all in all quite a nice day!