Templeton is the name of a field just north of Dursdon Drove which itself is just north of Ebbor Gorge.
In this field within a small depression, a foot wide hole suddenly appeared and dropped down a couple of feet.
Permission was sought and granted by the landowner and Templeton the dig was born. This was back in the summer of 2000.
Initially a hole was excavated with a hymac digger down to what was thought to be bedrock and 6 x 3ft pipes were installed vertically. At the bottom of the pipes was clay. Gooey stodgy yummy clay. This was dug out and put into drums which were hauled out of the pipes with a hand winch, they were then emptied onto the surface at the top.
However, it soon became apparent that at least one wall of the dig was just clay - no solid rock. As digging continued, this kept slumping inwards. Digging this way was abandoned, the hole dug out again with another hymac and another set of pipes were installed on what was again thought to be bedrock just a few feet away with the old pipes replaced and the hole backfilled.
Digging then recommenced down the new set of pipes, again handwinching spoil out and dumping it within the depression at the top. After a short while a connection was made with the bottom of the first set of pipes and a through trip was created!
Unfortunately, it became apparent after digging out a void of about 30sqm that about one third of the wall around the chamber was just clay, and one night a huge amount of this collapsed and made the dig too unstable. There were no options for shoring or stabilising so a third hymac session was employed to form a 100ft across conical shaped hole. This was about 25ft deep.
After this (May 2002) a mini digger was lowered into the hole down a hair raising 45o slope and a mechanical winch used to extract spoil which was then moved onto a long spoil heap behind the winch along the edge of the field.
The mini digger dug its way down until it was no longer useful. After a lot of deliberation on how to remove it, the mini digger was hauled out by crane (Feb 2003)
The dig has since developed rapidly into the mechanical wonder it is now. It has a rail track (which is periodically extended) so that spoil from the bottom (- 165ft) can be winched out in a purpose built skip that holds approx quarter of a tonne of rocks and clay. This is then emptied into a waiting dumper truck and when full, driven up the handmade track on to the top of the heap and emptied.
Unfortunately flooding at the bottom has been a problem since May 2006. The depth to which it floods has been reduced, but currently pumping out the water before digging is essential. This has slowed progress dramatically. At present (Sept 2012) the dig has reached a depth of 230 ft, and has two potential ways on, the north end & the south pot. Water can be siphoned into the latter, greatly easing the flooding problem.