Peak District Mining Heritage Walks and Underground Mine Trips

Featured

Here are the guided walks and underground mine visits we currently have planned for the next few months in the Derbyshire Peak District. Do keep checking back here, as more walks and underground trips will be added to the list. 

All our walks are free, and are open to all (not just PDMHS members). However, pre-booking is required when walks are limited to a certain number of people. As the walks are all also weather-dependent, we can keep you informed by email of any changes or cancellation in the event of bad weather. You can contact us at meets@pdmhs.com. Any changes due to weather conditions will also be posted on the website, so it is advisable to check back here before you set out.

Also, if you are planning on attending with a large number of friends, it would be worth checking with us in advance about car parking availability. 

Donate to support the work of Peak District Mines Historical SocietyOur walks are free but if you would like to express your appreciation, a donation would be very welcome. Alternatively you might like to join PDMHS.

Insurance is compulsory for those going on underground trips. The PDMHS UEG (Underground Exploration Group) can arrange this if you don’t already hold BCA insurance. You can contact the UEG here.

If you want to find out more information about any of our guided mining and industrial heritage walks, contact Chris at meets@pdmhs.com


Wednesday May 22nd – Industrial Heritage walk through Froggatt Wood to Froggatt Edge

Leader – Chris James

An evening walk of about 3 miles length to look at a beautiful little lead smelter in Froggatt Wood, plus a very fine millstone quarry on Froggatt Edge.

Prior booking is essential for this walk. Contact meets@pdmhs.com to book your place and for details of the meeting point.

Lead smelter in Froggatt Wood © Chris JamesWe will meet at 7.00pm and first descend through Hay Wood (where the bluebells are still looking fantastic) on good paths – with one boggy section – to look at the early (C16 or 17th) lead smelter. The site is looking particularly good at the moment, as some scrub clearance has recently been carried out around it, allowing all of the features to be clearly seen. There are the remains of several small buildings, including the one which contained the waterwheel  fed by a lovely gritstone channel from the stream above. It is a scheduled monument, and the listing for it states: “The Froggatt Wood smelt mill is one of the very few 16th-17th century smelt mills in England to retain any standing structures. The water channel and wood-drying kiln are unique within the lead industry, and the survival of an undisturbed complex of this date, with a wide range of features, is very rare”.

From there, we will follow an old packhorse road (with sections of original gritstone paving) to Froggatt village. There will then be a fairly steep (in parts) climb of about 300ft up to Froggatt Edge, where we will emerge at one of the finest millstone quarries in the area. In addition to the numerous millstones, there are several inscriptions in the rock face itself – with the oldest being dated 1622. On the top of the Edge above the quarry, there are some very finely carved C19th inscriptions in the rock, plus other quarrying features. After inspecting those, it is a relatively level 1 mile walk along Froggatt Edge back to our starting point. On the way, we will pass Stoke Flat stone circle, and probably hear a cuckoo or two. If the weather is clear, there will be great views along the Derwent Valley towards sunset time.

The walk involves a descent of about 300ft on good paths from the starting point to the lowest point of the walk near the lead smelter, then 300ft of ascent back up onto Froggatt Edge itself. The ascent is also on good paths, and is in two sections – with a flat section along the hillside between to allow us to get our breath back.

The walk is free and open to everyone (not just PDMHS embers).

Optional drink at the Grouse Inn afterwards.


Tuesday 11th June – Mining Heritage Walk to Magpie Mine, Sheldon. 
The Square Chimney at Magpie Lead Mine in the Peak District. Photo © Andy GillingsLeader: Paul Chandler.
This is an EVENING walk of less than 5 miles. Meet in Ashford village, near the packhorse bridge, where there is a small car park & street parking.
Party size is limited to 15. To book your place(s), and for the meeting time or further details, please contact Paul Chandler, either by email: meets@pdmhs.com or phone: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best).  
The walk includes a mini surface tour of Magpie Mine site, plus various features of mining interest on the way. 
The walk route is as follows: Ashford – Little Shacklow Wood – Sheldon – MAGPIE MINE – Sheldon – Great Shacklow Wood – Ashford. Total distance: 4.74 miles (approx).  
It involves a gradual ascent to Sheldon, including a short rocky/muddy section through woodland. Also an optional stepped descent in woodland on the return route, plus short road sections, field paths, stiles and tracks. Optional drink afterwards at the Bulls Head Inn, Ashford. 
Bring usual walking equipment, a torch for viewing shafts & levels and a camera.
A copy of the walk route map is available on request. Sorry, no dogs on this walk.
 

Advance Notice – trip to Zip World Titan, Blaenau Ffestiniog – Interested?

Sit back and zip away as you and your friends fly down Europe’s largest zipping zone! Take flight on 3 exhilarating zip lines and soak up the amazing quarry views during the experience of a lifetime (Info from website). SUMMER Availability April – October. How many Zips? 3. How far? 1890m. Starting height 482m above sea level. Duration 2 hours. Cost? £50. WINTER Opening – £30, but only two Zips. Note: VELOCITY 2 is the scary/fast ZIP at Penrhyn Quarry, North Wales.

Here are some photos from PDMHS member Rob who went on the underground zip-wire trip in 2015 and reports it as well worthwhile (and safe!).
Organiser: Paul Chandler – It is intended that TITAN will form part of a walking/adventure weekend, I am planning in North Wales, possibly in May 2019. If interested, please register your interest (without obligation at this stage) with Paul. Email: paul.derbyshirecaver@btinternet.com or Tel: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best) / 01246-220773 (Landline).

Matlock Cable Tramway Walk Report

Sunday 28th April dawned a pleasant day after the horrendous weather of the previous day. Nine of us met Paul Chandler at the picnic site / car park in Darley Dale. We started off towards Warney Mill, a former corn water mill. This was acquired by one Herbert Harding from Matlock and used as a caravan site. He later sold furniture direct to the public. On Sundays the items were included in an expensive pound of carrots to work around the then Sunday trading laws. The site is now better known as DFS. 

Continue reading

Museum Heritage Events

The Peak District Lead Mining Mueum (part of PDMHS) hosts Derbyshire Heritage Events and offers Guided Heritage Walks in Derbyshire – for dates, times, costs and other details please check the Museum Web Site news page or their Facebook page.

Derbyshire Heritage WalksThe guided heritage walks are led by local expert Tony Wood. Tickets must be purchased in advance from the Peak District Lead Mining Museum in Matlock Bath. Not only does Tony have an extensive knowledge of local lead mining history, but also the people and places. His walks have usually been sold out and attract many “repeat visitors”. You can buy tickets in person at the Museum (check the Museum web site for opening times) or you can email here or phone 01629 583834. Card payments can be taken over the phone for a minimum of 2 or more tickets.

Evening walks begin at 7.00pm and aim to finish by 9.00pm. The starting point will be given when you purchase your tickets.

In addition to walks organised by the Museum, PDMHS also operates a series of free heritage walks and underground trips. For underground trips, BCA public liability insurance is mandatory – this can be arranged for PDMHS members by the Society’s Underground Exploration Group.

Derbyshire Heritage Talks are hosted at the Museum in Matlock Bath. Talks are on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 and cover a wide range of historical aspects of the area, including the mining heritage but also industrial archaeology, folk-lore and social history in Derbyshire. These heritage events are well attended and tickets should be purchased in advance (at the museum or by phone to 01629 583834) to avoid disappointment. Tickets cost £6 (£5 to PDMHS members and Friends of the Pavilion).

15 October 2019: A talk by John Barnatt, who has a long involvement in the archaeological investigation of the history of mining, especially in the Peak District.

This talk is likely to be very popular, so book early!

 

Stoney Middleton Mining Heritage Walk Report

The weather forecasts before our walk on October 13th had been pretty ominous, with rain, high winds and even lightening forecast. But PDMHS walkers are a hardy bunch, and a total of 14 of us turned out to brave the elements at our meeting place at the bottom of Coombs Dale in Stoney Middleton

This was an all-day circular walk which was packed with features of mining interest. Only a couple of fields from our starting point, we crossed over Peakstone Rake by the site of Wren Park Mine, before entering Coombsdale Wood with its old limestone quarry. The quarry has been used as a tip for domestic waste in the past, and here we found a large shaft covered with scaffolding poles – which we concluded was probably an old lime kiln which has been almost completely buried by the tipping. Continue reading

New Threat to Peak District Mining Museum

Derbyshire Dales District Council has recently announced that, to save money, it intends to close the public toilets next to the Lead Mining Museum in Matlock Bath.

The Mining Museum would be particularly badly affected by this move, as it would make it extremely difficult for the Museum to accommodate school visits – which make up a large part of its income. This comes at a time when the Council’s financial support for the Museum’s rent rebate is being reduced year on year, so it is a “double whammy” to the Museum’s ability to survive in the coming years.

Other local businesses in the south end of Matlock Bath would also be affected, as it would mean that the nearest toilets for visitors would be half a mile away.

An online petition has been started to show the Council the strength of local feeling about this issue. Please show your support for the Museum by signing it here.