Fears torrential rain 'will open up' 200ft sinkhole near Cowshill

Sinkhole near Cowshill The sinkhole has opened up near Mr Hensby's house

Related Stories

A landowner fears a massive 200ft (60m) deep sinkhole which has opened up near his home will get bigger.

Torrential downpours are forecast later in County Durham and John Hensby, 71, said he had been warned the 110ft (35m) wide hole would grow.

It opened up about 260ft (80m) from Mr Henby's house in Cowshill near Bishop Auckland, above an old lead mine.

Durham County Council has closed a nearby footpath. Mr Henby said he was worried about sheep falling in.

The retired salesman lives in a stone two-storey house built in the 1870s and owns 10 acres of former mining land.

His partner Sam Hillyard, 39, spotted the sink-hole on Thursday while she was out shooting rabbits.

Sinkhole near Cowshill There are concerns sheep could fall down the hole

Mr Hensby, who has lived in the former mine manager's house for six years, said: "We heard enormous rumblings hours before it opened up and then it appeared.

"I'm not worried about my house as it is on stable land - not actually on a mine.

'Sheep swallowed up'

"We don't think our lives are in mortal danger or anything like that, but all the local farmers have been warned as we don't want any sheep wandering over and getting swallowed up."

Mr Hensby believes the sinkhole is due to 19th Century iron or lead mining, though he has been unable to find evidence of a shaft that may have collapsed.

He added: "The hole is stable at the moment, but we know there is torrential rain coming and the hole will get bigger - which is a real worry.

"Long-term what will happen to a hole so big - we will just have to wait and see."

Sinkhole near Cowshill Mr Hensby heard enormous rumblings from the ground before the hole opened up

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear

Weather

Newcastle upon Tyne

15 °C 13 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the hour 08:58:

    The top local headlines at 09:00 include:

    There's full North East reaction to the Scotland referendum vote across BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees.

     
  2.  
    Vow to the North? 08:48:

    The Journal, The Northern Echo, The Gazette and the Yorkshire Post among others across the North of England have joined forces to ask the government "Now what is your vow to the North?"

    Journal and Northern Echo front pages
     
  3.  
    Full coverage of vote 08:37: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    We'll be covering the results of the Scottish referendum across the BBC today on BBC Newcastle, BBC Tees, Look North and of course online.

    Vote graphic

    We'll also be looking at what it means for the North East as a whole.

     
  4.  
    Top headlines
     
  5.  
    Slow moving on the A1 southbound 08:23:

    Aside from the usual roadworks, most of the roads in the North East are moving well.

    There's very slow traffic on the A1 southbound between the Hexham turn off in Blaydon and Dunston Interchange in Gateshead in the roadworks area. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  6.  
    'English voting on English issues' 08:15: Richard Moss Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    Sir Alan Beith, Berwick Lib Dem MP and also chair of the Commons liaison committee, says it's time that English MPs voted on English issues.

    Sir Alan Beith with Alfie Joey

    He added he and the committee will question Prime Minister David Cameron on the details of the new UK settlement when they meet on 14 October.

     
  7.  
    #bbcscotlandandus 08:06: Stephanie Finnon BBC Newcastle

    It's a bit wet in Kelso, Scotland. I'm here this morning for BBC Newcastle after the borders said No to Scotland becoming an independent country.

    Share your reaction with us on Twitter by using the hashtag #bbcscotlandandus

    Stephanie Finnon
     
  8.  
    Good morning 08:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East along with North East reaction to Scotland's referendum result.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • A person taking a photo of fireworks on a smartphoneClick Watch

    A look at the latest gadgets which could make it easier to take the perfect night-time picture

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.