Combine a walk over the moors with a visit to a local mine museum, including a guided tour into one of the mine adits. Scenery across the North Pennines and Northumberland, followed by this informative talk, combined with tea/coffee and cake. What more could you ask for?
Whether your stay with us is to enjoy the wide-open wilderness spaces by walking, running or cycling, or to explore the area for its many other facets, there is something for you all. Whilst it is believed that Bronze Age and Roman people in the area were the first to use the mineral wealth, the earliest historical evidence points to mines as we now know them starting in the area around the 1100s. These mines, in one form or another, persisted until the mid-1900s, leaving their legacy in the valleys and villages across the North Pennines.
A relatively short walk over the moors, crossing into Cumbria, will bring you to the small village of Nenthead. Despite its small sleepy appearance, this was once an important location for mining such things as lead, zinc, felspar and a by-product, silver. The landscape of the area still bears testament to the industry, but much of the infrastructure has now disappeared. Much of the stone has been reused in other buildings throughout the area. At the eastern end of the village is Nenthead Mines, where some of the mining heritage has been preserved by volunteers.
Carrs Mine in the centre of the site was a site of lead and zinc mining, with the very important by-product of silver coming from the lead as it was smelted on site. The mine is open for tours underground to see the working conditions and marvel at the amazing stonework that still looks like new in certain parts of the mine. The tours are guided by the volunteers, and you will learn about the geology of the area as well as how the mineral ores were extracted. Whilst many of the buildings are now just a few courses of stone high it is still possible to wonder at how busy the place must have been during its heyday.
One of the later additions to the site was the Brewery Shaft, which goes down 100 metres and used to supply air into the mines by utilising the water from a reservoir high on the moors above. A must-see attraction as the lights show the old pipes within the shaft and the echo of a stone being dropped, taking 5 seconds from top to bottom.
If you are feeling peckish either before or after your visit then homemade cakes are readily available within the old barracks that also houses photographs and artefacts recovered from around the extensive site and area.
Details of open days and events can be seen on their website https://www.nentheadmines.com/category/open-days/