The Gasworks tip has been hammered for many years now, but most of the areas still accessible are relatively modern, dating from the early 1920's to the late 40's and even later. After some consideration it was decided to sink a hole on the oldest available spot to see if we could hit paydirt. The only drawback with this plan is that it is neccesary to dig through some horribly thick capping, which will take some time. There is considerable depth to the tip, and we reckoned on approximately 25 feet to reach the level of the Welsh Water sewerage treatment plant. Then there will be roughly fifteen foot from that level to the bottom. The spot chosen was right next to the perimeter fence of the sewerage plant. We don't know what the result of this "project" will be, but each session will be recorded here, even if it is only a few words and photos. Each find, or not, as the case may be, will be shown. I suspect that the reports will consist mostly of frustrating digging and little finds.
Today, mid-morning, saw the start of the project. It was a cold but sunny day, ideal for digging, but I was starting off solo, with only our mate Tony for company. On the previous day the decision had been made to purchase a pick to enable us to quickly shift the horrible clay capping that covers the site. This awful sticky stuff is terrible to dig through, containing as it does rocks and boulders, but it was anticipated that the pick would make short shrift of it. Sadly that was to be wildly optimistic.
The first thing we discovered was that there was a layer of much older ash and soil covering the capping, having been dumped from the building works thirty odd years ago. This was as hard as concrete, having been compacted by heavy machinery at the time, and any bottles in it were in bits. We found this layer to be about three foot deep before it gave way to our favourite clay. At the end of the first day's digging the hole was only about five foot deep, and still no sign of ash. One disconcerting thing was the sudden appearance of rising water, twenty five foot above the level of the river!!!! Turned out to be rainwater draining off the top of the tip.
The chosen spot:
The hardcore capping was horrible. A couple of hours worth of hard work:
At the end of the first day: