Peak District Mining Heritage Walks and Underground Mine Trips

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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


Saturday October 13th – Mining Heritage Walk to Longstone Edge, Longstone Moor and Stoney Middleton

Leader – Chris James

Update on 11/10/18: In response to some enquiries about whether the walk is still going ahead, the answer is that yes, it is. The weather forecast for Saturday is currently for gusty winds, and some light rain showers, but warm temperatures (20ºC). Much of the route is pretty sheltered, and it is really only when we are on Longstone Moor that we will be exposed to the full force of the wind. Make sure you bring windproof clothing!

To give you an idea of what you will be able to see on the walk, please have a look at this gallery.

This all day circular walk is approximately 7 miles in length, and will involve a total ascent of about 250m. to its highest point. Meet at 10.30 in the car park next to the playing fields at the bottom of Coombs Dale OS grid ref SK236751(click to be taken to OS map view), on the left of the A623 just before you get into Stoney Middleton (coming from Calver crossroads). This walk is free and open to all – no pre-booking required. Bring a packed lunch and a drink. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads as we will be on sheep pasture for much of the walk.

Walker in Coombs Dale © Chris James

On the valley side in Coombs Dale, above the entrance to Sallet Hole Mine.

On our route, we will pass Enterprise Mine in Coombs Dale, the entrance to Sallet Hole Mine (which was working until relatively recently), then go up to and into (with permission) the former opencast fluorspar workings along Hard Rake on Longstone Edge, before heading over to Longstone Moor to inspect an old tramway connected with fluorspar mining, have a look at the entrance of Watersaw Mine and the site of Cackle Mackle Mine. We will then return to our starting point via the settling lagoons of Cavendish Mill and the disused limestone quarries and lime kilns of Stoney Middleton. Plenty of fine views with some wonderful autumn colours at the moment, plus lots of other interesting stuff to see on the way!

To give you an idea of what you will be able to see on the walk, please have a look at this gallery of photographs of the route taken only two weeks ago.

Optional drink in the Moon Inn, Stoney Middleton, afterwards.


Saturday October 27 – Underground trip into Cromford Sough

Leader: Adam Russell

Meet at 1pm in the car park by Cromford Mill. 8 places available. Booking is essential – contact meets@pdmhs.com to reserve your place.

An easy walking trip into this well-decorated 17th century sough, featuring some of the earliest evidence for the underground use of gunpowder in the British Isles (See Mining History vol.13 no.6). The water may be between knee and thigh-deep in places depending on rainfall prior to the trip.


Tuesday November 6 – Underground trip into Mandale Mine

Leader: Martin Long

Meet at 7pm at the parking area above Haddon Mill, Over Haddon. 8 places available. Booking is essential – contact meets@pdmhs.com to reserve your place.

A walking trip down the Incline Level of Mandale Mine to meet the Sough Level, then following this upstream to the forefield shaft. The trip is not suitable for novices as it involves handline traverses over flooded stopes – cowstails will be required.

Optional drinks afterwards in the Lathkil Hotel, Over Haddon.


Saturday November 24 – Underground training trip in Devonshire Cavern, Matlock Bath.

Leader: Martin Long

Meet at 1pm at the Mining Museum.

This trip is primarily intended as an electron ladder training session for new members, or for any members wanting a refresher in ladder technique. Booking is essential – contact meets@pdmhs.com to reserve your place.


Tuesday December 4 – Underground trip into Nickergrove Mine, Stoney Middleton

Leader:  Arthur Wilson

Meet at 7pm at the sub-station parking at the bottom of Eyam Dale. 8 places available. Booking is essential – contact meets@pdmhs.com to reserve your place.

A walking trip into this part-natural mine located in Cucklet Delph. The trip may involve ladder descent and tight free climbs into a lower level then exit up Didsbury Shaft if desired.

Optional drinks afterwards at the Miners Arms, Eyam.

Underground mine trips restarted

As members will be aware, PDMHS had to temporarily suspend underground trips last year because our existing insurance was not providing sufficient cover for underground activities. PDMHS needs more people to help us record, survey, and preserve the underground heritage of Derbyshire’s mines, so the solution we have decided on is the formation of an autonomous group within PDMHS. It will be called the Underground Exploration Group (UEG), and will apply for member club status with the British Caving Association and take part in the BCA Public Liability Insurance scheme. Continue reading

Duckmanton Railway Cutting and Arkwright Town, near Chesterfield.

Saturday 17th February 2018. Only one place still available.

Prior booking essential – meeting arrangements will be supplied when booking your place(s).

Organiser: Paul Chandler. 
Paul Guion (East Midlands Geological Society) has kindly agreed to show us around this very important and unique geological site. A short, easy walk from Arkwright Town will bring us to the Duckmanton Railway Cutting (located on the long closed Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast Railway line between Chesterfield and Lincoln). The cutting is now split by a filled bridge, with access to the west side being over a stile and down some concrete steps. Access to the east side is over another stile and down a zig-zag inclined path. As the railway cutting will be wet underfoot, wellies are essential. Please also bring a helmet (if you require one, please mention it when booking, as Paul’s stock is limited).
Further information and photographs of Duckmanton Railway Cutting can be found here.
In addition, Paul will be giving us the background to the fascinating story of why an entire Derbyshire coal mining village, Arkwright Town, was “moved” in the 1990s.
 
Duration approx 2hrs. Party size is limited to 20 (including 5 places for Masson Caving Group members). Booking is essential, and priority will be given to PDMHS and MCC members. Contact Paul at meets@pdmhs.com or tel: 01246-220773. If over-subscribed, you will be added to a reserve list.
Visit is courtesy of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (permit supplied) and many thanks to Paul Guion for leading the walk.   
 
Donate to Peak District Mines Historical Society
 Please help us to keep these walks free by giving us a donation if you are not already a member of PDMHS. Alternatively, why not join us?

Underground Trip – Milldam Fluorspar Mine, Great Hucklow.

Saturday 17th March 2018 (date to be confirmed). Meeting arrangements will be supplied when booking your place(s).

Please note: this trip is now fully booked.

Organiser: Paul Chandler.

A second opportunity for Society members to visit this, the last working fluorspar mine in Derbyshire. We will be able to see the progress made since our previous visit in November 2016. Just the one trip this time – a morning visit – which will last around two hours. We will be walking around the mine, so no crawling involved! Photography is allowed, so bring a camera if you wish, but please don’t post any pictures on social media. 
There are 20 places available on a members-only basis (10 places allocated to PDMHS members & 10 for Masson Caving Group members). To book your place(s), contact Paul, either by email at meets@pdmhs.com or tel: 01246-220773. Preference will be given to Society members who have not visited before, but please book early! If over-subscribed, you will be added to a reserve list. Sorry, this is a members-only trip – no guests allowed. As our visit will be covered by the company’s insurance, the minimum age limit is fifteen years, but there is no upper age limit.
Wear overalls/old clothes and wellies (it will be wet underfoot in places), a helmet and a hi-vis jacket/vest (if you have one). Lamps & self-rescuers will be supplied, though if you have your own belt for the lamp & self-rescuer that might be useful.
Many thanks to Richard at British Fluorspar Limited for arranging the visit.