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

Peak District Mining Heritage Walks and Underground Mine Trips


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 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

Tuesday January 29th – Underground trip to Crackendale Mine, Ashford-in-the-Water.

Leader:  Adam Russell

Meet at 7pm. Details of the meeting place will be given to you when booking.
This easy walking trip will visit this small but interesting working, with some fine high packwalls. There is a squeeze at the entrance but otherwise it is mostly walking/stooping height passage. Further details of the mine can be found in Observations and Discoveries part 40.

6 places available. Booking is essential – contact to reserve your place.

Optional drinks afterwards at the Packhorse Inn, Little Longstone.

Trip is by kind permission of the Chatsworth Estates.

Saturday February 16th – UEG Underground Trip into Devonshire Cavern, Lower Series, Matlock Bath.

Leader: Martin Long.

This trip will visit the down-dip workings of Devonshire Cavern, which mostly involves walking or stooping height passages, but some crawling may be involved. More details are in Mining History Volume.17 No.3.

Meet at 1pm at the Peak District Lead Mining Museum, Matlock Bath. Eight places available.

Booking is essential – contact to reserve your place.

Tuesday 12th March – Underground Trip into Arrock Black Marble Mine, Ashford.

Leader: Paul Chandler.

An easy grade, dry evening trip. There is a short, low crawl near the entrance which leads into the main part of the mine. The remainder of the mine is mainly walking or stooping size. Arrock is quite different to the Rookery Black Marble Mine nearby, in that timber has been used to support the roof, some of which, you might say, has seen better days! Although less extensive than the Rookery Mine, it is arguably more interesting.
Party size is limited: 8 places available. Preference will be given to Society members who have not visited before. Please note: other guests have been invited, so book early!
BCA Public Liability Insurance Cover or similar is essential.
To book your place(s) and for meeting arrangements, please contact Paul Chandler. Email: or Tel: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best) / 01246-220773 (Landline). 
Access is by permission from Chatsworth Estate. Optional drink after trip in the Bulls Head Inn, Ashford. 

References: Derbyshire Black Marble by J M Tomlinson, PDMHS Special Publication No.4 (1996) and Mining History (PDMHS) Vol.20, No.3 (2018). 

Tuesday 26th March 2019 – Underground Trip into Holmebank Chert Mine, Bakewell.
Leader: Paul Chandler.
Evening trip. Easy grade, dry trip(although lowest workings are flooded). An ideal trip for novices and also of interest to experienced explorers. Mostly large, walking or stooping size passages and easy scrambles. The mine is quite extensive, with around five miles of passages! The popular through trip is planned, exiting via the quarry entrance, with various points of interest enroute. An interesting mine and well worth bringing a camera.
Party size is limited: 6 places available. Preference will be given to Society members who have not visited before. Please note: other guests have been invited, so book early!
BCA Public Liability Insurance Cover or similar is essential.
To book your place(s) and for meeting arrangements, please contact Paul Chandler. Email: or Tel: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best) / 01246-220773 (Landline). 
Access is by kind permission of Oldfield Design, Bakewell.

References: Mining History (PDMHS) Vol.13, No.5 (1998) and Vol.19, No.6 (2017).  

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th March – North Wales Mines Weekend.

The programme for the weekend is as follows:
Friday pm – Wrysgan Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Saturday – Zip World Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Sunday – Prince of Wales Slate Mine, Beddgelert.

Organiser: Paul Chandler.

Wrysgan Slate Mine: Access to this mine involves the ascent of a steep hillside, but you are rewarded with panoramic views on a clear day! An easy/moderate grade trip ideal for novices and also of interest to experienced explorers. The upper workings consist of huge caverns, scrambly bits and walking size passages. From photos seen, the lower workings are more of the same and we may encounter handlines, but no SRT involved. Part of the mine is popular with outdoor groups. There are surface mining remains to explore, including various buildings, a reservoir etc, but the highlight is the spectacular/very steep incline down to Tanygrisiau, with the upper part of the incline being in a tunnel. What to wear? Oversuit or boilersuit, wellies (shallow water), gloves(recommended/slate can be sharp), etc. Worth bringing a camera/smartphone. Party size not limited.

Zip World Caverns: “Do you dare to try Caverns? Fly, climb and traverse your way through our unique underground course in a slate mine disused for the past 200 years; if you’re up to the challenge that is!” (Info from website). Number of Zips 11. Other elements include Via Ferrata, rope bridges, monkey bar… Cost: £65. Duration: 3 hrs. For full details, including restrictions (age, height, weight, etc) and a short video visit: Interested? As numbers are strictly limited, Society members will get preference over guests, but please book early.

Optionally afterwards, (depending on the time we visit Zip World). I plan to visit Hafod Las Slate Mine at Betws-y-Coed. Even though heavily wooded, this is a most interesting site. Surface exploration, viewing mine buildings, inclines, machinery, etc, plus short, easy underground levels (optional). Bring a rucksack or similar, gloves, plus helmet/lamp (optional), as we will have a short walk to the mine from B-y-C village. Party size not limited.
NOTE: If low interest in Zip World Caverns, an alternative full day easy/moderate grade trip will be arranged to one of the local mines.

Prince of Wales Slate Quarry, Beddgelert: The quarry is located in splendid scenery in an elevated location looking down to the coast. Mostly surface exploration, looking around mine buildings, inclines, quarries, etc. (Optional) Mine workings are only of limited extent, expect some shallow water. Easy grade. Access to this slate mine involves, a short uphill walk of around two miles, mostly through Beddgelert Forest, using forestry paths/tracks, plus a small amount of moor, starting from the forest car park. Bring usual walking gear, rucksack (or similar), plus helmet/lamp (optional), etc. Party size not limited. NOTE: Weather dependent – If wet, an alternative easy grade trip will be arranged to a nearby mine.

Accommodation/Social: The weekend will be based in picturesque & popular Betws-y-Coed, where there is plenty of accommodation, such as B&B, Hotels, Bunkhouses, a Hostel, Camping, etc. Please join us on both Friday & Saturday nights in Betws-y-Coed for meals and a drink or two!

For more information: Visit for pictures & information on the slate mines we intend to visit. Another website well worth a visit is Treasure Maps –

Society members are welcome to ‘pick and mix’ these trips to suit. If you cannot come for the weekend, join us for a day trip. All welcome! Joint meet with Masson Caving Group.
To book your place(s), for meeting arrangements, further details, lifts available, etc, please contact Paul Chandler. Email: or Tel: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best) / 01246-220773 (Landline).

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.
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: or Tel: 07908-607513 (Mobile/Text is best) / 01246-220773 (Landline).

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 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).

Derbyshire Heritage Event - The Poisonous History of Lead Mining and SmeltingNovember 6th – The poisonous legacy of lead mining & smelting 

Dr Lynn Willies will be explaining why certain parts of Derbyshire and the Peak District have higher lead levels and the impact this can have.  
He will give some clues to place names which are linked to smelting sites and will, of course, go into gory detail about the effect of lead on the human body!!

Limestone quarries in Wirksworth DerbyshireDecember 4th – The Wirksworth quarries

Explore the last 300 years of limestone quarrying in Wirksworth with speaker Tony Holmes. Tony has a huge collection of drawings, pictures and photographs of the quarries that he has worked in and studied over much of his life.

Hazards of lead mining in DerbyshireJanuary 8th 2019 – Mining hazards

A talk by Dr Richard Shaw.

Discover the dangers faced by Derbyshire miners and the dangers that remain long after the work stops.

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.