By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane

Sixty years since the Collyweston mine was shut down, workers have begun mining the slate once again to repair the roofs of the old cottages and pubs in the small Northamptonshire village

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Collyweston is a small village in Northamptonshire

Dating back 600 years, the mine is owned by Nigel Smith whose great grandfather, Willie Smith, was a worker in the original Collyweston mine.

Using a special hammer the limestone is split

The high quality limestone slate is thousands of years old, formed under high pressure and sits on a bed of compacted sand.

The slate is divided into thin sections

After the slate is removed from the mine it is placed in a giant freezer to imitate the effects of frost; which makes it much easier to split the rock into thinner sections.

The Collyweston Slater pub sign depicts a mine worker
A small hole is drilled into the slate and attached with a stainless steel nail

These are given a final splitting by hand in a method known as 'cliving' using a special hammer.

The new mine had to be cleared of rubbish before work began

The slates are then drilled with just one hole and get attached with stainless steel nails; and can last for up to 200 years.

The slate tiles can last up to 200 years

Photographed by John Robertson on March 1 2017, the new mine had to be dug out before work began as it had been filled in with rubbish and old mine workings when it was closed.

Not only was the tunnel filled with waste, but also a large colony of bats which halted progress.

The mine dates back to 600 years ago

An 80 metre tunnel was cut into the new workings but a new wall was built to protect the colony of bats.

After extraction of the limestone slate, the area will become a bat reserve, and added to an existing and protected site nearby via a tunnel.