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Cousland Limestone Mine (Upper Quarry) [2]  Cousland Limestone Mine 

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Cousland Limestone Mine (Upper Quarry) [1]

Cousland, Midlothian.

NGR:NT 37568 68215
WGS84:55.90298, -3.00009
Length:Not recorded
Vert. Range:Not recorded
Altitude:Not recorded
Geology:Not recorded
Tags:Mine, Quarry, Archaeo

Upper Quarry Entrance to the southern parts of the lower level of Cousland Limestone Mine and via that also to the upper levels. The main entrance to the lower levels was lost when the mine closed and has since been quarried away then later infilled (removing the lower parts of the lower level and blocking the connecting route to the western parts of the mine ). All the entrances to the upper levels of Cousland Mine were also infilled, but a way in was rediscovered in 2014? at one of the former entrances off the upper quarry (now a wooded area used by dog walkers, off Hadfield Road, opposite the Community Hall). Other entrances to the upper level are known to have existed of Southfield Road (south of Cousland at Bartholomew's Firlot) and by the Bellyford Burn (near the junction of Hadfast Roasd and the A6124).

The entrance is through a tight squeeze at a run in off the west side of the quarry. a slither over loose quarry slappings under a precarious looking rock overhang slides down a steep slop into the workings. It is possible to do this unassisted but a hand line secured on the surface is helpful and prevents unnecessary disturbance of the loose quarry slappings.

Once in the workings it is very easy to get lost amongst the extensive and irregular grid of pillar and stall tunnels the levels fall away to the west and north eventually dropping to the north-west corner where there was at on time a connection to the main entrance (now lost) . Along the southwest edge of the lower workings water running in from above has created the unusual 'Yellowbrick Road'. Not actually brick, this is a 2-5 m wide continuous band of calcite gours creating a yellow 'road'. Although this forms a useful landmark and provides a good route through the lower workings, try to avoid stepping on the calcite as it is very fragile. As the mine workings drop eventually the passages next to the western walls become flooded as the water from above ponds before seeping away through the infill of the open cast workings at the lowest point. There are a couple of places where it might be possible to dig through the run in material towards the western part of the mine but the extent of the infill is unknown.

If you do get lost in these lower tunnels head down hill until you meet the Yellowbrick Road then follow it back uphill (or upstream as it is always wet). When you reach the climb to the upper levels do not ascend but follow the mine wall a short distance to the left (past one or two other run ins) to return to the entrance.

At the top of the Yellowbrick Road water trickles down through a narrow slot. Climb in up this brings you to the north-east corner of the upper level of the mine. Passages run initially south and east with the single passage at the climb up, past a brick wall with some interesting grafitti (showing the dates of closure of the mine), becoming 3 or 4 parallel tunnels with cross passages forming links between, deep mud and occasional flooded sections making navigation harder. Working your way through near the upper eastern edge of the mine (the actual edge is a series of side passages dead ending in rather precarious looking run ins and the lower passages have more mud and at least one flooded section) you pass through the remains of a partition wall (Polythene attached to timber framing) and reach a wide drier passage with evidence of truck tyre tracks. This must have been the main roadway through the mine. Uphill this dead ends in another run in which must have been the upper entrance to the mine, near what is now Southfield farm (possibly Windmill Plantation). Down hill is another area of pillar and stall.

Further lower levels of workings at Cousland were associated with Cousland Shale Mine (a small mine linked to the limestone mine immediately southwest of Airybank House and a larger mine to the northeast and east of the cement works) which was later converted to extract natural gas. The extraction pipes taking gas from these lower workings was routed through the limestone mines with wellheads in the upper quarry and at the Bellyfield Burn [NT 37002 67998] (See Keith, 1989). This should not be confused with Cousland Shale Mine, West Lothian (near Bathgate).

Alternate Names: None recorded.

Notes: Parking at Cousland is very limited. Roads are narrow and large numbers of cars would cause problems for local residents. By agreement (and local by-law), parking is NOT permitted at the recycling area at the Community Hall (or outside the Community Hall itself).

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This entry was last updated: 2023-03-23 12:53:01

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