Hidden in Thorny Close Wood on the steep bank of Skelton Beck is an old mining drift. Work was started in 1865 as an exploratory drift for the Skelton ironstone royalty at its northern extremity. The ironstone seam proved elusive because of what we now know to be a syncline and after a series of boreholes North Skelton Mine was chosen for the shaft and opened in 1872. This would be the deepest ironstone mine in Cleveland.
A year after North Skelton was opened, a new shaft, Long Acres Mne, was proposed to work the northern part of the royalty with this drift being utilised for drainage. Long Acres Mine was situated where Asda is now and operated until 1915 after which stone was extracted through North Skelton although the shaft was kept open for ventilation until the mid 50s. The last ore was raised from North Skelton Mine in 1964.
The entrance was used in a night navigation exercise a week or so ago and this was a return visit. I didn’t go in far, just stood in the entrance. The floor was flooded and I am told there has been a rock fall after 15m which I think is just visible in the photo.