The Soton Well is a mine located between El Entrego and Sotrondio, in the heart of the Asturian mining basin. Inside and out it is a jewel of engineering and industrial architecture. It is owned by HUNOSA, has more than 140 kilometers of galleries and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2014. Now it has become one of the most original tourist attractions in Spain.
allowed two types of visits inside the mine. A "short visit", lasting 2:30 hours, in which we travel more than two kilometers at a depth of about 400 meters; Y a "long visit", about five hours of travel in which we will almost reach 600 meters underground, descending to the ninth floor of the Well through "La Jota", a ventilation chimney also used in its day as an auxiliary exit from the mine. It happens very often, according to most testimonies, that those who make the short visit are left wanting to make the long one.
How is the interior visit to the Pozo Sotón mine?
It is spectacular, without a doubt. A full-fledged adventure, while a very enriching experience. We will learn first-hand the intricacies and secrets of an authentic mine. We will put ourselves in the shoes of the miners for a while, using their clothing, their safety equipment and their work tools, to tour the mine with all the guarantees and being able to take home a small sample of Asturian charcoal.
First of all, put on the work overalls, put on the mining lamp and the self-rescue equipment. We then attended a training talk on safety and accompanied by real miners by profession, who will serve as a guide, we get on the cage (mining elevator) to first descend to 400 meters below the surface. The miners begin to explain to you what their day-to-day activity was like and how, meter by meter, they made their way underground to extract the coal. The explanations are loaded with solid knowledge on the subject, closeness and good humor.
We get off at the eighth floor, which welcomes the stranger with a boarding gallery barely five meters wide by three meters high. In the floor of it we noticed a hole. It is "The Jack" and from there it will go down to the ninth floor who has previously decided so (certain physical aptitudes are required to descend this section, but the visitor who wishes can always take an alternative route of less complexity). The semi-vertical chimney has been manually excavated and posted only with wood. "You have to try to keep three supports when going down," the guides warn us.
The silence, the breath, the heartbeat. For a moment we are somewhat hesitant to start going down this unique and narrow corridor of about 100 meters in length, which at some points barely exceeds one square meter of passage and whose average slope exceeds 43 degrees. It is undoubtedly the most demanding moment of the visit, although it should not be frightened. The tour of La Jota does not entail extreme difficulty. Also, we always advance under the supervision of the miners, very aware of the group at all times and responsible for ensuring our safety.
After spending about twenty minutes descending, the "mining tourist" reaches the ninth floor. That will start the walking tour to the areas where coal was exploited. They show you the narrow galleries where they used to bite squatting or lying on the ground, with a tool that weighs more than eight kilograms, in a dense cloud of dust and with a deafening noise for hours. The courage and strength to be able to carry out this work is obvious, and we can see it first-hand by attending in this area a chipper workshop. Thanks to this activity, we ourselves, with our tenacity, seek to a piece of coal of coal that we will surely place in a visible place in our house.
Along about two kilometers of galleries we come across different installations for water, air, electricity and communication with the outside, with the layout of the tracks, the methods of supporting the galleries and the automatic opening systems for ventilation doors. The last two kilometers of the route, the return to the Caña del Pozo, takes place in a train of company personnel.
Who can go down the mine?
The long visit to the interior of Pozo Sotón, including the descent through La Jota, can be faced anyone in good shape and with a minimum of flexibility and agility. It does not imply a high physical performance but, yes, the shoelaces are insured for the following days. Nor is it that you have to have a special qualm to do it or be carried away by unfounded fears, although it is not possible for pregnant women, people with reduced mobility or those suffering from respiratory, cardiac or other associated ailments, nor all those who suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo. The activity is also not allowed for minors, unless there is express authorization from the guardians. The minimum age contemplated is 16 years.
All the security measures, recommendations and contraindications are detailed on the official website.
What other things can we see and do in Pozó Sotón?
A wide Guided tour of the exterior of the Well. A tour full of mining milestones that begins in the warehouse and the plumbing, to then discover the history of the Well and its architecture: its two towers, the metallic structure that unites them or reter and the always surprising building of the machine house and union offices. In front of the two towers, the Mining Memorial is installed, which pays tribute to the miners who died in work accidents under the management of HUNOSA; to all those who gave their lives in a titanic job, ultimately basic for the socioeconomic development of our country.
At the end of the exterior route, the participants will know how to make sense of all these words and expressions: chimney, headwall, postiar, pull, racks, masonry, the chulana post, the chapeo, the bocarrampla, the gallery advance, the driller, the scraper, the tresillons, a cross of Saint Andrew, etc. They will also attend the simulation of a forward shot and see a roadheader in operation.
El Pozo Sotón is a mining cathedral. Its activity dates back to the 2014th century and its administrative closure took place in XNUMX. It is a symbol of the Asturian industrial revolution and for this reason it also houses the Mining Experience and Memory Center (CEMM). A museum in which spaces dedicated to miners, firedamp, work accidents, historical documentation or the work of women miners are recreated. An especially attractive center for the little ones, because among many other attractions it allows you to build a mine with the Minecraft video game, and has an exhibition that can be "touched", whose elements (90%) have been recovered or reused from mining wells. closed. The CEMM includes in its offer specific programs for schoolchildren, for families, dramatized visits, creative workshops, camps for children, miners' birthdays and an escape room where one can be part of a mining team to complete an important mission.
Address: Sotón, Linares. San Martin del Rey Aurelio. 33940 - Asturias.
Phone: +630 119 642
Reservations for interior or exterior visits can be made here:
Website of the Mining Experience and Memory Center
Phone: 985 66 19 44
Source: Well Soton.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com