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Mine exploration

Brave a different type of cave and explore an artificial underground environment.
Plan a session with this activity

What to expect

Have you been caving before? Mine exploration’s similar, but instead of crawling through natural underground passages, you’ll explore underground environments people have excavated to look for resources like stones, metals, and minerals. The different environment brings a whole host of difference challenges, hazards, and surroundings.

What you’ll learn

You’ll need to keep everyone in the loop as you communicate clearly with your friends and support each other. Like any adventure, some people will find it comes naturally while others may need a bit of encouragement to face their fears. There are plenty of opportunities for people to take the lead or step into someone else’s shoes and understand how they’re feeling.

Fun facts

The UK has a strong history of mining. People have been mining since the Bronze Age, and lead and copper attracted the Romans to Britain. Entire communities used to exist around mining when we used to mine coal and iron for energy and steel – mining was a way of life as well as a job. Far less copper and iron are mined in the UK today, but the underground kingdom remains. We don’t have any official figures for how far it goes, but it likely stretches thousands of miles.

Handy hints

  • Take an extra jumper. Just like caves, mines can be cold and wet. You’ll be glad you remembered a spare, dry coat or jumper when you make it back to the outside world
  • Wear strong boots. Check with whoever’s leading the activity whether you’ll be better off in wellies or hiking boots – it’ll probably depend on the mine (and the time of year).
  • Take it easy. Being underground can make some people feel nervous. Keep an eye on anyone who’s uncomfortable – perhaps they’d like to stay close to a leader or a more confident friend? There should always be time for people to take a break if they need a moment or two.

We’re reworking our safety guidance for adventurous activities to make it easier to understand and follow.

In the meantime, before you try mine exploration, review the safety information.  

Reflection

Mine exploration is a great way to try something new and get active in a new environment. For some people, it’s also about learning to face their fears, overcome worries, and not back down. Did anyone feel nervous before they started? What helped them to feel calmer or to take a step out of their comfort zone? People could chat about how they found the adventure in pairs or small groups. If anyone wants to, they could share some of their thoughts. How did people support each other to have the best possible time?

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.