Walk report: Castleton, Pindale and Dirtlow Rake

The group of 15 set off from Castleton to Odin mine sough tail, Trickett Bridge.
The stream bed here is stained orange due to iron in the shale the sough runs through. The valley bottom is mostly of shale with the reef limestone rising up to form Treak Cliff and Long Cliff.

A strong flow of water was rising at our next stop, Russet well, this was formerly a main source of Castleton’s water supply.  The well helps drain the Peak to Speedwell cave system, of which the large natural shaft, Titan, is a part.

We then followed the line of Redseats vein to Pindale village arriving at a fine example of a 17th century climbing shaft.  The stone stemples in the ginging the miners would have used to climb are clearly visible. Nearby is Pindale mine engine house which has been converted into a well maintained bunk house. Allan, the site manager, kindly gave us a tour of the site.

Walking up Pin Dale we passed Black Rabbit cottage, said to be a remnant of a former mining settlement of that name.
Beside the 19th century quarry the scars of Pindale Side Vein and Fire Scrin going diagonally up the dale side can be seen. The volume of finely crushed rock on the northern slope suggests it was the site of ore dressing activity.

The engine shaft at Siggate Head mine is a concreted over but there is evidence of a crushing circle and a water storage pond. We paused for lunch beside the impressive open cuts of Fire Scrin and Pindale Side Vein. Pickmarks can be seen on the exposed rock.

We followed the hillocks down Kitle End vein and on to Nether Dirtlow open cut where pickmarks and stemple sockets can be seen in the walls. The curves and folds of the rock strata are shown well and slickensides are evidence of movement on a fault.

Our next stop was the site of the excavation in 1998-2000 by John Barnatt and the “How Grove team” where evidence of an ore dressing facility can be seen.
At nearby Hazard mine, a major ore producer on Dirtlow rake, a gin circle and engine shaft remain visible.

Dropping down Longcliff on the eastern side of Cowlow Nick, a visible “Y” shape on the hillside marks Longcliff vein and Shackhole Scrin.  Here Phil Wolstenholme and TSG have stabilised a run in shaft to gain access to the underground workings. This is on access land and is being undertaken with the agreement and cooperation of the National Trust, Natural England and Derbyshire Caving Association.

The Castleton Mines-a Descriptive and Visual History. by J.H. Rieuwerts and P. Wolstenholme. ISBN: 978-0-9563473-6-7
PDMHS Bulletin of Mining History Vol15 No2, Winter 2002

With thanks to David Wormsley for leading the walk and providing a walk report.