A COUPLE were stunned to find a 100ft wide sink hole had appeared near their County Durham farmhouse.

The hole, which is believed to be the result of long disused mine workings, is so deep that the bottom cannot be seen.

Durham University academic Sam Hillyard, 39, discovered the hole in Cowshill, in Weardale, County Durham, last Thursday. (August 21)

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She was returning to her Burtree Pastures home which she shares with partner John Hensby, after shooting rabbits when she noticed a 30ft wide hole.

Overnight the hole grew to 100ft wide and there are concerns that it could grow even bigger.

Mr Hensby, 71, 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.

"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."

The couple’s farmhouse is located between two former mines, Sedling Pit and Burtree Pastures Pit, and they live in the old pit master’s house.

Durham Police and Durham County Council have been informed as a precaution, and a nearby footpath has been closed.