25th November Work started on a dig near Ranscombe in Kent. On initial inspection the feature consisted of a round hole about 3½ feet in diameter about 2 feet deep filled with logs. After several dozen logs were removed work started in ernest to dig out the hole. Previous experience suggested it would be a collapsed dene hole. However as we began to increase the depth, evidence of other possibilities came to light.
The shaft appears to be flint lined suggesting the possibility that is not a dene hole but a well instead. By the end of the day we had managed to excavate about 20 feet and were now well into the chalk layer. Foot holds are clearly visible in the sides of the shaft and the flint lining above the chalk is clearly visible. More pictures can be found in the recent photos section.
16th December Work continued on the dig and grill has now been fitted to the hole. Although we removed another 10 feet of infill the purpose of the hole still remains a mystery. The composition of the infill seems to have changed very little, being very light and easy to remove and the shaft is still progressing down through the chalk layer.
31st December Work continued downward. Along with the infill some pottery remains and a large stone was recovered from the hole. Further investigation of the pottery found suggests it is associated with cooking or low status drinking type vessels. The piece with a rim was suggested as Romano British (3rd or 4th century) and the 5 other pieces of about same period to around Norman conquest, dating is imprecise on these pieces as there are no real distinguishing features. It would appear that pottery pieces above are from at least 3 different items which rather suggests more than just casual occupation in the area. There was also a hand made nail, 18th or very early 19th century and scrap of hand made salt glazed stoneware of probably 18th century.
20th January 2007 Work continued on the dig but nothing of huge interest was found. The hole is almost certainly a well, and having almost reached the end of the cable for our small winch the decision was taken not to proceed any further. Work was concluded, the site was tidied up and left safety gated
22nd January 2012 After many years of being dry, work started to clear out the debris thrown into the well.
As the well is inside the cave we weren’t able to use our petrol winch but fortunately power was available so we could use the electric one instead.
During the day we managed to clear many buckets of chalk and soil thrown into the well along with several hundred coins thrown in over the years. After removing 5ft of spoil water is now visible and hopefully on the next visit we will be able to continue downwards and leave the well with water in the bottom.
31st May 2008 A group of about a dozen of us attended a house in Gravesend where a mysterious hole had appeared in the garden
Following the recent bout of heavy rain the owner had noticed a dip in the back lawn of his property. After contacting the group we arranged to go and have a look. Initial inspection revealed a sagging area of grass with a small opening in the middle and a large void below. After a few minutes cutting away the overhanging grass a closer inspection revealed that the large void sloped downward into another hole with water at the bottom.
At this point we weren’t sure if it was a dene hole, mine or well. After securing a ladder and life line Pete was duly dispatched to investigate. Upon inspection it turned out to be a well which had obviously been capped at sometime in the past. The beehive shaped capping was in good order and had a pipe feeding into it having been used as a soak away at some point in the past.
It seems that water from a soak away, now clearly visible, installed a few years ago had found its way into the side of an old unknown and capped well. Over the ensuing years the water had slowly washed away the earth in its path. As more and more soil was washed away a growing void was being created under the lawn. Eventually during the recent heavy rain this void had completely collapsed revealing the well. We measured the depth to the bottom of the well to be about 11m and having stood in the water it turned out to be only about 3 feet deep. Obviously this would have been deeper before all the soil washed into it. The owner now plans to fill in both the well and hole. For more pictures click here.