I first wrote about the strange ‘Fairy Mine’ on Bingley moors a few years ago, but I thought it was time for an update as a couple of things have happened since then.

To recap: the mine was discovered in 1977 by schoolboys Jon Tilleard and Paul Bennett. The entrance lies on an extremely remote part of the moor – there are no paths or tracks anywhere near the spot and no one goes there. The area around the mine is a combination of marsh lands, rocky ground and for most of the year is covered in almost impenetrable 3 ft. high bracken. It is hard walking and there is nothing to see. No reason for anyone to venture here – and no one does – not even sheep!

There is a long story of how the mine was first discovered and it’s subsequent exploration here – and it is well worth a read.

In a nutshell, the mine was discovered when Jon was sitting on a small stone and dislodged a rock, which fell away and uncovered the entrance. The entrance is small – perhaps 14″ X 12″ and although a small man could fit in it, it would be very uncomfortable and restricted (this coming from an ex-caver who was used to thrutching down tight passages).

The entrance to the mine

The entrance to the mine

Paul sent encouraged his 7 year old brother Phil into the entrance, and clutchng a bicycle torch he squirmed his way in for about 30 ft, then had enough and retreated, saying the tunnel carried on past a boulder and on into the darkness.

There are several problems which we can’t figure out (including the obvious – who built it, why, when and what’s inside it)…it is at the base of a 30 ft. high hill. The hill looks completely natural – a geologist friend of ours who saw the hill says it is. And it is a big hill, covered in all sorts of large boulders and debris – not a ‘nice’ hill with gentle slopes and grass. There is no evidence of a shaft on the top of the hill going down. So the tunnel must have been somehow built into the hillside, but how do you build a very small tunnel for at least 30 ft into the side of a hill when you can barely fit in your self – you certainly couldn’t move your arms to dig.

There is no draught coming down the tunnel, and the sides are stone lined all the way in – not an animal burrow.

The capping stone

The capping stone

There is no evidence of any industrial activity of any sort near the mine although a strange wall is nearby (archaeologists who examined the wall had no idea how old it is and it is not typical of the types of walls found around here). There is nothing in any old records or maps that we could discover.

We have contacted various archaeologists (sending them high res photos and videos) including:

  • Professor Ian Armit – Head of Archaeology at Bradford University, who wrote back and said it was very strange but he had no idea what it was
  • Ian Sanderson – Principal Archaeologist, West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, who said much the same
  • The British Museum said likewise, and various other archaeologists who didn’t know.
  • A geologist, diviner and one or two people who didn’t know what it was either.

One of the stranger aspects of the mine is that the entrance stone keeps moving of it’s own accord. The area on front of the entrance is level, so anything placed there would not roll away.

Whenever we visit the mine we always plug the entrance with a stone, and each time we visit next the stone is always moved – not rolled away but sometimes ‘thrown’ 3 or 4 meters away. We have no idea how this happens – we have not given out the map ref and no more than 5 or 6 people know the exact location. If someone had done this as a prank it must be one of the people we have shown the entrance to, and apart from my friend James and I everyone shown the entrance lives miles away – some hundreds.

Can you spot the fairy mine?

Can you spot the fairy mine?

Paul and his friend once camped out about 30 ft. away, and after a last visit to the mine making sure the entrance was blocked, they bedded down – in the morning the capping stone was found 5 meters away in the bracken!

I had a similar experience a few months ago. I visited the mine to take some video to show the archaeos’ – and I put the capping stone back (this is a ritual we always observe). Walking back to the car I realised I had left some filters back at the mine, so I went back. The capping stone was lying 10 ft. away in the bracken. I was only gone 20 minutes and I would have seen anyone else on the moor!

I have sat at the mine entrance for over an hour and nothing has happened (fortunately – I don’t know what I would do if the stone suddenly came shooting out of the entrance!).

So, in short we have no idea what it is – and neither do the professionals. If you have any ideas please don’t keep them to yourselves – let me know  🙂