A HOLE about 40 foot-wide has opened up on land just yards away from a Flintshire primary school.

It is the second time a hole has appeared on the site next to Ysgol Rhesycae on Halkyn Mountain after a hole about 23ft wide opened up in June 2010 as a result of a collapsed mine shaft.

Children and parents at the school have been advised to stay away from the site, which is now under 24-hour patrol.

Halkyn councillor Colin Legg said concerned residents contacted him on Sunday night to say the hole had reappeared.

“This hole is almost twice as big as the one that appeared last year,” he said.

“People in the village appear to have taken it in their stride and the site has been secured to keep residents and animals away.”

Landowners Grosvenor Estates said the original hole was caused by a collapsed mine shaft.

They covered it with a giant concrete cap but Cllr Legg said the cap had now fallen down the new hole.

A spokesman for Grosvenor Estates said it was too early to say why the hole had reappeared but that bad weather or erosion could be to blame.

“Our expert advisers are in the process of undertaking inspections and gathering information in order to understand why the hole may have reopened,” he said.

“Emergency fencing has been put in place, warning signs erected and there is monitoring 24 hours a day.”

Staff at Ysgol Rhesycae said the school was in regular contact with Grosvenor Estates and would keep parents and pupils fully informed.

Cllr Legg praised the response of Grosvenor Estates and said Halkyn Mountain had a rich history of mining.

“The speed of the response from the landowners has been very impressive.

“Hopefully the tests they are carrying out will mean the shaft can be secured once and for all,” he said.

“I believe there are hundreds of mine shafts on the mountain and many of them were dug out by miners who went out on their own looking to strike it rich.”

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “We have been informed of the situation but it is the landowners responsibility to carry out any remedial works required.”