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UNEARTHING THE PEAK'S LEAD MINING PAST

This is an archived press release

Thursday 13 May 2004

13 May 2004

UNEARTHING THE PEAK'S LEAD MINING PAST

May 22 - 29 is Lead Rakes Week in the Peak District and, to celebrate, the Lead Rakes Project has organised a full programme of activities designed to showcase the 2,000 year history of a once thriving industry that shaped the landscape we see today.

Lead mining in the Peak was one of the largest, richest and longest-worked mining industries in Europe but a recent survey found that three quarters of its surface remains have been lost in the last 100 years.

Now the Lead Rakes Project - a partnership of English Heritage, English Nature and the Peak District National Park Authority - is raising awareness of the loss of an important part of our national heritage and calling for urgent action to safeguard the remaining lead mining sites and unique lead rake landscapes.

Jane Chapman, Head of Conservation at the National Park Authority, said: "It's impossible to look across the Peak District without being reminded of centuries of mining activity that's reflected in settlements such as Bradwell and Winster, in features such as engine houses and gin circles, in traditions such as the Barmote Courts, and most of all the old workings that criss-cross the landscape.

"If we do not act now and sites continue to be lost then the Peak District will lose an important part of its historic landscape and biodiversity. By celebrating Lead Rakes Week and encouraging people to come along on the guided walks and events our aim is to show that the remains are special and that the Peak's lead mining heritage is well worth conserving."

Events:

Saturday 22 May
High Rake Mine, Windmill, near Great Hucklow: open day at the archaeological excavations (SK164 778). Site tours on the hour from 11am to 3pm. Parking restricted. No booking required.

Mines of Monyash 2pm-4pm. Guided walk by local expert guides, followed by a short film of underground exploration, at the National Trust's new Learning Centre at Monyash House Farm. Book through the National Trust 01335 350503.

Ghost Walk, the mines of Lathkill Dale 7pm-9pm. Book through English Nature 01629 816640.

Sunday 23 May
Peak Forest Walk - a walk through a leadmine landscape with expert commentaries from an archaeologist, an historian and an ecologist. 10.30am - 4pm. Bring your own packed lunch. Maximum 35 people. Book through the Peak District National Park Authority, 01629 816383.

Tuesday 25 May
Magpie Mine, Sheldon 6pm-8pm. Tour the site in the company of expert archaeologists, historians and ecologists. Learn about the history, archaeology and natural history of this fascinating site. Maximum 40 people. Book through the Peak District National Park Authority, 01629 816383.

Wednesday 26 May
Bonsall Moor Walk 6pm-8pm. Learn about the archaeology and history of lead mining in this area and the natural history that has since developed, in the company of experts. Maximum 25 people. Book through the Peak District National Park Authority, 01629 816383.

Thursday 27 May
Winster/Winster Pitts Mine Walk 6pm-8pm. Discover how and where lead was mined, the wealth it generated and the impact it had on the village and its architecture, in the company of mining and building historians. Book through the Peak District National Park Authority, 01629 816383.

Saturday 29 May
Peak District Mining Museum Open Day at Matlock Bath (01629 583834); reduced entry rate of £1, including access to Temple Mine. Three short talks on the archaeology, history and natural history of Peak District lead mines at 2pm-3.30pm and 5.30pm-7pm. See the displays, videos and exhibits about leadmining in the Peak.

Suitable outdoor clothing and stout footwear should be worn for all walks. Car parking is limited at some sites so please car-share and use public transport wherever possible.

This is an archived press release

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