Peak District Mining Heritage Walks, Field Meets, and Underground Mine Trips

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Here are the guided walks, field meets, 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. Walks/meets are organised by the Society, the Museum, and by the Underground Exploration group, with slightly different logistical arrangements: see below.

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

The schedules will usually be updated quarterly, when each newsletter is published.

Online calendars are now available:
https://tinyurl.com/pdmhs-meets-webcal
https://tinyurl.com/pdmhs-meets-ical

Mining Museum Heritage Walks

Sturdy footwear and waterproofs recommended. Walks always end near a pub! Tickets are £3 from the Peak District Mining Museum; pop in or phone 01629 583834. Walks are open for anyone to join, well behaved dogs on leads welcome.

3rd May 2022 (7pm) – Winster Village: trades, pubs & industries.

7th June 2022 (7pm) – Birchover, Stanton Moor, Rowter Rocks.

5th July 2022 (7pm) – Stanton in the Peak.

2nd August 2022 (7pm) – Alport Mining field (surface only).

6th September 2022 (6.30pm) – Bakewell Chert Mine (surface only).

Society Field Meetings

Walks/meets organised by the society are free, and are open to all (not just PDMHS members, although you might like to join PDMHS.). However, pre-booking is required when walks are limited to a certain number of people, and contacting us in advance is recommended.

The format of some Society Field Meetings will sometimes be very similar to Museum Heritage Walks, but we might spend a little longer discussing interpretation, and participants other than the leader are likely to chip in their knowledge, as well as asking questions. Society Field Meetings are definitely not “just for experts”, and any meets which involve more than walking around on the surface looking at the remaining features and learning about the history will be clearly indicated as such.

As the walks are weather-dependent, changes due to weather conditions will also be posted on the website; it is advisable to check back here before you set out.

Matlock and Matlock Bath: Geology and mining and some quarrying

Sunday 10th April. Leader: Lynn Willies.

Meet at 12.30 at the road/river bridge at SK 293 605, map on A6 near Sainsbury’s petrol station on the north side of Matlock. Parking possible on Snitterton Road up the hillside.

We will follow the river-side path (Seven Rakes and Dimple Mines, Jane and Ladygate Mines. Then over High Tor (High Tor Rakes, Side and Riber Mines) and Lovers Walks (Hagg Mine) to Masson Mill via the Lovers’ Walks. We will continue up the Wapping past the eponymous mine to Devonshire (Coalpit Rake) through the woods to above Masson mines via the Masson Quarry (upper end of Youds Level – Masson Sough and Gentlewomens’) which is the best geology site in the area, Then back down via the old saltway close to Salters’ Lane.

The total distance will be about 5 miles of robust, rather than difficult, walking. Estimated duration: 4 hours for five or six miles.

Earl Rake and Intake Dale, Bradwell

Date: Tuesday 26 April. Leader: Adam Russell

Meet at 7.30 in the parking area where Tophole Road meets the Bradwell-Tideswell road (SK 1678 7949). map

This moderately short walk will take in the central portion of Earl Rake, and return down Intake Dale, visiting Intake Dale Mine and the recently-recapped engine shaft there.

Heritage Walk: Hayfield to New Mills Area

Sunday 22nd May 2022. Leader: Paul Chandler.

Meet in Hayfield village, Old Railway Station car park (Pay and Display), NGR SK 0359 8693. map

Party size limited to 15. To book your place(s), and to get meeting time, further details, etc, please contact Paul Chandler, either by Email: meets@pdmhs.com or Phone/Text: 07908-607513 (text is best).

Starting from Hayfield, we will follow the old Hayfield to New Mills branch line, now the Sett Valley Trail (SVT). Arriving in New Mills we will visit the spectacular Torrs Gorge, the impressive Millennium Walkway, historic Tor Vale Mill, the popular Peak Forest Canal, view two coal mine soughs, and not forgetting a well known Sweets factory! Our return route is back along the SVT to Hayfield. Distance: 7.3 miles.

An easy, mostly flat walk on footpaths, trail walking, short road sections, canal towpath, some short and easy descents and ascents, some steps. Wear your usual walking clothes and boots, and bring a packed lunch and drink. Don’t forget your smartphone or camera. Dogs on leads only please.

Thatch Marsh & Burbage Collieries

Tuesday 31st May. Leader: Adam Cooper

Meet for a 7pm start at SK 0301 7215. There is parking near to where the tarmac on Macclesfield Old Road runs out, but don’t be tempted to go much further. map

The Thatch Marsh and Burbage collieries have an unusually large number of remaining features from the 18th and 19th centuries, having avoided the destruction which large scale or open cast working wrought on many old coal mining sites.

The relationship between the geology and the evolution of mining techniques – from early working near the outcrop to increasingly-separated shafts – is evident from the surface remains, as are the historical transportation routes.

The walk will take in coking ovens, numerous run-in shaft tops and mounds, causeways, a hollow-way, gin circles (including a likely cog and rung site), The Duke’s Level, old turnpike routes, the early 20th century drift, engine footings, and incline down to the A53, and exposures showing the situation of the collieries on the flank of the Goyt Syncline.

Underground Exploration Group

Underground mine trip in Maury Sough © Martin LongOur underground mine trips are organised by the PDMHS UEG (Underground Exploration Group), which is free to join for PDMHS members. Insurance is compulsory for those going on underground trips, but the UEG can arrange this if you don’t already hold BCA insurance. Meeting times/places for UEG meets may be found in the members’ newsletter or by contacting the UEG.

You can contact the UEG here.

Foxholes Cave and Dream Mine, Godfreyhole

Sunday 15th May 2022, leader Shirley Burtonshaw.

Foxholes cave is small but with an impressive natural chamber, kneepads, gloves and oversuit recommended. Dream mine is also very small and is a site of archaeological interest, the skeleton of a rhinoceros being discovered here. An optional awkward climb will be attempted which should lead to some shafts / holes in the floor.  Several shafts on the hillside will be inspected with a view to a further visit later in the year.

Booking via ueg@pdmhs.com with “Foxholes” in the subject line.

Groaning Tor Level, Via Gellia

Sunday 5th June, leader Martin Long.

An opportunity to take part in the recording of geological and archaeological detail to be put on a survey.  No experience necessary, blank surveys and pencils provided.  Kneepads recommended for the short crawl, wellies for the wet bits.

Booking via ueg@pdmhs.com with “Survey” in the subject line.

Wardlow Sough, Cressbrook Dale

Tuesday 14th June 2022. Organiser: Paul Chandler.

Six places available. To book your place(s), and meeting time/place, further details, etc, please contact Paul Chandler, either by Email: meets@pdmhs.com or Phone/Text: 07908-607513 (text is best).

Easy/Moderate grade, muddy, wet (possibly). Mainly stooping/crawling mined passages. Single passage, with one short side passage to shaft (up). Short, inclined entrance pipe, with fixed ladder. Please note there is a tight squeeze 40mtrs from entrance! Other mines in area to view/explore. Evening meet.


Updated: Adam Cooper, March 22nd 2022

Museum developments

We are exploring the opportunity to relocate the museum to National Stone Centre near Wirksworth.  This will be a new-build project to create a world class visitor experience and an internationally significant centre of excellence for the quarrying and mineral products industry on the existing site. The NSC merged with IQ, the Institute of Quarrying, in 2021.   

The Museum is very highly rated on TripAdvisor as a visitor attraction and the new build will include space designed to accommodate the Mining Museum collection.

The NSC site is a 40-acre SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).  Visitor features include a half mile self guided outdoor Geo-Trail through the disused limestone quarries whose rocks once formed part of a tropical island with shallow lagoons, barrier reefs and white sand beaches! These rocks are packed with fossils including corals, brachiopods and crinoids.

Follow the ongoing progress on the Museum web site Developments pages

Online newsletters – April edition is published

The April 2022 edition of the newsletter is now available from the Members Content area and should arrive by post within the next few days. The next edition is due out in July and contributions are solicited by the first day of June.

We aim to add the latest newsletter to the website at the same time printed copies are distributed.  The link to all newsletters can be found in the Members Content area.

The printed newsletter is monochrome, in recent online copies photos are reproduced in full colour. 

Peak District SSSI monitoring competition

The monitoring of caves in SSSIs is an important conservation matter.  The relevance to PDMHS is that many mines join natural caverns and some caves have been worked for minerals. To encourage participation a competition has been set up. Monitoring forms in respect of caves in the Peak District SSSIs will be entered in a prize draw and the winner will receive a £50 Starless River voucher. Full details on the DCA website at Derbyshire Caving Association. – SSSI Competition (thedca.org.uk) .

AGM afternoon presentations

Following the AGM on 13th November as has been past practise, we have some presentations after lunch. This year these will be:

  • John Hunter: Hemingfield Colliery (Elsecar) – the current status of site, conservation and historical research. (30 mins)
  • Lynn Willies: Chance Mine – following the loss of 5000 tonnes of stone in a quarry blast we were asked to investigate close-by mine workings which turned out to be particularly interesting. (30 mins).
  • Paul Smith: Wheal Vor Ltd: The electrical years 1906-1910 – the trials & tribulations of draining and re-opening an extensive, deep and wet tin mine in Cornwall, using early electrically powered pumps
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