UK Mining Walks & Visits Log

Midlands - Peak District Mining Walks

    Alderwasley Mining Walk October 2012
  A Brief Description

Distance = 10.5km
Route = Footpaths, some road walking
Start = Whatstandwell Car Park (SK332543)
Weather = Sunny

Although this walk looks at some of the old coal mining features around Alderwasley it is in an unexpected area for coal mining and it also includes parts of Meerbrook (Lead Mining) Sough, hence it is in the general Midlands section.

It was a nice weekend and I had a free day and I had managed to put together enough information together for a reccy around some of the mining parts of Alderwasley. So I decided to set of for a nice short walk. Arriving at the small car park by the canal I managed to find a space; I parked up and got ready. Part way through getting ready I realised I had left my info and maps at home, but luckily I had the correct 25,000 OS map in the car and I had remembered the route. As I was setting off the water vapour from the trees and river was lifting and forming a nice layer of hovering mist with clear blue skies above.

I exited the car park along the road and headed down to the A6 and across the Derwent; from here I got a nice view of the river and mist above in the distance. Crossing the main road I took the footpath to the right of the old lodge heading uphill and through the trees to Hankin Farm. From the farm I followed the path west up the slope which in places appeared disturbed below Round Wood. Upon reaching the junction with Midshires Way the site of Alderwasley Colliery was Pit Coppice to the north which supplied coal & clay to the pipe works and old lead smelting works (now a caravan park). The path headed southeasterly and in the field before the road I noticed the path was dark in colour and there were some suspicious looking features around; there is a thin coal seam outcropping roughly along the path. I turned along the road south and after a short while took the path through Kennel Wood, I had a quick look at the footbridge to see if I could see the coal outcrop, but nothing was seen so I returned to the path and headed towards Alderwasley village. En-route I came across a number of shaft mounds and other features along and slightly above the footpath, the mound were mainly shale but there were a few tantalising pieces of coal left behind.

On reaching the village I took the road towards Wirksworth, after a short while I came to the path heading back easterly towards Knob Farm. The path was overgrown in parts and also difficult to follow. Prior to reaching Knob Farm I came across some interesting features in some of the fields between the path and the road. These looked like possible sites of old shafts and or adits, this may have been the site of Old Alderwasley Colliery. From the farm I headed north along the path towards Long Wood, just to the north of the farm is a mound on the left of the path; this is an old ventilation shaft for the workings below. To the right of here is Long Wood and a slight detour along the path alongside the wood reveals some earthworks along the outcrop. I continued along the path past the site of Wigwell corn mill then followed the track west to the main road. The road here is a little bendy and is sunken, thus fairly dangerous and required being very alert to any traffic noise. As the road bends to the east the ground slopes up on both sides of the road; looking it the ground on the slopes it appeared uneven and disturbed - geology maps show 'bell-pits' in Hag Wood.

From the road I took the track down past Meerbrook Farm, at the side of the track and near the farm is a lime kiln built in to the side of the hill or spoil mound, a large spoil mound is above and behind the kiln - this is the site of Meerbrook Lead Mine (not to be confused with the engine house on Meerbrook Sough Lead Mine) and is named Conway's shaft on the mine plan. Following this path then taking the set of path to head back to the road I passed along the site of another set of shafts on Meerbrook Lead Sough; these are Lane End Shaft(s). Crossing the road I followed Midshires Way up in to the woods; however just prior to the woods I first noticed some disturbed ground in the field and then I noticed possible two shaft mounds in the woods this is a possible site of Longway Bank Colliery; one to the right of the path and one above. At the top of the path I followed the permissive path through King's Lot wood and emerged above the site of Wigwell Colliery & Brickworks, but very little is there other than some mounds in the ground.

Making my way along the path north through the woods (very muddy) I came out on the road, in the field opposite can be seen a large shaft mound with a capped shaft and a beehive cap; this is the site of Sitch Shaft on Meerbrook Sough. Oddily though on some old OS maps this is marked as an old coal shaft (this is likely to be incorrect). I took the path on the left from the road and down towards the A6, then along the lane to meet the path opposite. A slight detour from the path can lead to the site of Meerbrook Sough mouth - it's a large arch with plenty of water which is used as a water supply. Following the path under the low bridge of the railway I soon the Cromford Canal next to the site of Gregory Tunnel. I went through the tunnel and continued along the canal path to the car park.

A lovely short walk for a Sunday morning