Yorkshire has some incredible landscapes and places of historical significance with two national parks, The Yorkshire Dales and The North York Moors, so if you are into the outdoors, you are spoiled for choice, but I personally like the Dales and the wealth of History it offers.

The geology of upland areas of Yorkshire where the movement of fault lines causes limestone beds to crack, creates deposits of lead ore, but ask most people today for a comment about lead and they will probably state lead paint, or lead poising. In the 1800s Lead was a sort after mineral and the Pennines had deposits that could be extracted. The Romans made use of lead from the Pennines and a lot of it was even sent back to Rome

I am always looking at OS Maps and found a few places that I wanted to explore, so Fran and I decided to venture up to Old Gang Smelting Mill, it is nestled between Brownsey Moor and Reeth High Moor, with Mill Gill beck running adjacent to the old mine buildings. Old Gang Smelting Mill is one of best-preserved lead mining complexes in the Pennines, but sadly it is not well sign posted and unless you know where it is, you would just drive past the path leading up to it.

By the 18th century, Britain was the biggest lead producer in the world, and prospecting in the Dales reached fever pitch. Most of the labour was manual and miners bargained with landowners for access to the lead ore deposits.

Government mineral statistics show that Old Gang mines yielded about 74% lead until 1888. After 1885 production declined dramatically.

The end of the Lead mining industry came at the start of the 20th century, when foreign competition began to undercut prices. The last lead mine in the Dales closed in 1912, but many of the buildings and workings, such as peat houses, smelting mills and stores, still remain.


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