12 – Noxon Park – The Collapse

The fences you see in Noxon Park are in place for safety reasons and the public are not allowed to enter the fenced areas. There are steep (downhill), uneven sections of path along with (fenced) steep drops here.

Large caverns lie hidden beneath the ground throughout Noxon Park. Writing in 1780 George Wyrral of English Bicknor described such areas in terms of what was known at that time:

George Wyrral in 1780 (extract) read by G Davis

“There are deep in the earth, vast caverns scooped out by men’s hands, and as large as the aisles of churches; and on it’s surface are extensive labyrinths worked among the rocks and now long since overgrown with woods, which whosoever traces them must see with astonishment and incline to think them to have been the works of armies rather than of private labourers. They certainly were the toil of many centuries and this perhaps before they thought of searching in the bowels of the earth for their ore, whither, however they at length naturally persued the veins as they found them to be exhausted at the surface”.

George Wyrral 1780

At this point is a path to the right. It is worth a small detour to view a large, fenced depression in the ground on the left which is known as the Noxon Great Collapse.

The Great Collapse was formerly flat ground. The large depression is the result of the roof of a cavern giving way. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly one night in 1968 and it was fortuitous that no members of the local caving club were underground at the time since this mine was regularly explored by them.

Their exploration is not limited to dry areas and there is footage on-line of divers exploring submerged caverns. The locked gates encountered in Noxon Park provide access to the cavers.

Underwater exploration in Noxon Park – video by Nick Franglen.

A little way beyond the collapse and to the left is a flat area where flowers once grew. This is thought to be the site of a garden belonging to a house that once stood there. Donald Johns who walked these woods man and boy referred to it as Granny’s Garden.