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


Tuesday 11th June – Mining Heritage Walk to Magpie Mine, Sheldon. 
Unfortunately, due to the bad weather that is forecast, this walk has had to be postponed. We hope to be able to run it again in August. Apologies to everyone who is affected by this.
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.

Froggatt Wood Lead Smelter Walk Report

This walk took place on Wednesday May 22nd, and was a gentle 3 mile evening walk to look at a early lead smelter hidden in the heart of Froggatt Wood. 

The walk had been arranged at short notice to coincide with the bluebells still being out in Hay Wood and Froggatt Wood – a fantastic sight with their lovely scent being an added bonus in the still evening air.

Froggatt Wood smelt mill © Jill Hulme

The gritstone channel which fed the water wheel

Apart from the walk leader, none of the other people who met near the Grouse Inn had ever been to the smelter before – and even the leader had only first visited it a week before. This is not surprising, as the site is well hidden in the woods away from the main footpath, and was quite overgrown until the National Trust (who own the land) did some scrub clearance work there recently. It’s now much easier to see the site’s features. The site is a Scheduled Monument and the Historic England 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”.

White coal kiln, Froggatt Wood lead smelter. Photos © Jill Hulme

The kiln was used for producing “white coal” fuel for smelting the lead

We were met at the mill by PDMHS member David Dalrymple-Smith, whose website Baslow History was where the walk leader first found out about the site’s existence. David gave us a tour of the site, which includes part of the structure where the water wheel was situated – fed by water coming down a beautiful gritstone channel. As we returned to the main path, we passed part of a large gritstone mould for making pigs of lead, and the nearby stream contained lots of pieces of slag. Very little information about the smelt mill’s history exists, but more information about what can still be seen at the site today can be found on the National Trust’s heritage website here.

Stream in Froggatt Wood © Jill Hulme

The stream contained plenty of pieces of lead slag

The path we then followed used to be one of the major packhorse routes up the Derwent Valley, and there were several places where the original gritstone paving was still clearly visible. The woods have obviously been the site of much industrial activity in previous centuries. Evidence of gritstone quarrying was everywhere, and David also showed us a curious little pond – obviously man-made – whose purpose is unknown.

Two of our walkers left us at Froggatt village, while the rest of us went up an old quarrymen’s track to Froggatt Edge. We emerged at a former millstone quarry, where there are still nearly a dozen millstones lying around – including some of the older domed types. In the quarry face itself, we examined some inscriptions – including one with the date of 1622. On the top of Froggatt Edge was plenty more evidence of quarrying, and also some very intricately carved C19th inscriptions in the gritstone boulders. 

By now it was past sunset, but we were treated to a beautiful sky as we walked back along the Edge towards the start point. On our way, we saw 9 red deer at quite close quarters, and also a pair of nightjars. A fine end to a good walk which everyone enjoyed.

Thanks to Jill Hulme for allowing us to use her photos.

Geology meeting and field trip to Brassington

The YGS (Yorkshire Geological Society) has an upcoming event that may be of interest to PDMHS members: a meeting entitled “Pocket deposits, karst and environmental change” on 15 June 19 at BGS Kegworth followed by a field trip on Sunday 16th to Brassington.  Further details can be found here and the full YGS programme of events here (which states “All events are free to attend for YGS members, and we always welcome non-members.”)

An article in PDMHS Bulletin 16-5 covers the geology & mines of the Brassington area.

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. 

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