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Report - Crook Wood Slate Mine (Lower Level) - The Duddon Valley - December 2014

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Lone Ranger, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Crook Wood Slate Mine – The Duddon Valley

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    History

    There isn’t too much if any history on this green slate mine; the Duddon Valley however is one of the quietest and most unspoilt valleys in the Lake District National Park. Approximately 9 miles long it has a Post Office, a Pub, a campsite, 2 churches, a number of hamlets and farms and a fair smattering of quarries and mines cut into the fell sides high above the River Duddon.

    None of the mines are anywhere near as extensive as the nearby Coniston Copper Mines and the majority of quarries are a lot smaller than Hodge Close, Tilberthwaite or Cathedral Quarry, which are just over the hill. They are however a lot less frequented, which for me makes them more appealing for me.

    Mines first appeared in the Duddon Valley around 1235, charcoal burning started in the valley in the 13 hundreds which must have supplied the couple of forges operating by at least the 1500’s. The blacksmiths worked the iron and copper mined in the valley.

    Slates were also mined to provide roofing material for the local houses, farms and barns, additionally they were exported out of the valley by the ‘slate cart’ still remembered by the older folks of the valley and at the time was the main communications with the outside world, the driver would accept shopping or delivery commissions as few people left or entered the valley.

    These days jackdaws nest in the empty quarries and owls and bats nest in the adits and shafts of the now derelict mines.

    My Visit

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    I love the Duddon Valley, it’s far from the maddening crowds even at the busiest times of year. No contact with the outside world also means no internet, mobile phones etc which means you have to rely on the old fashioned techniques like a map and a bit of prior research! An Ideal place for me to spent New Year and this was my last outing on New Years Eve in the torrential rain.

    I’ve been to Crook Wood before so spent a couple of hours searching further down the valley for a few levels and shafts marked on the map, but had never found any information or history of. As light was getting poor I thought I’d head back to Crook Wood as I knew I hadn’t seen everything here, plus it was close to the road. I quickly found an entrance I’d missed before and was soon out of the rain. This is probably the lowest level here, but I could be wrong.

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    Initially I wasn’t sure if it was the Adit I’d been down before, but remember the last one to be knee deep in water, plus the entrance had an obvious track to the entrance.

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    For once there were footprints evident in the sludge on the floor, good to see that this must be one of the more popular mines in the Duddon Valley.

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    Being honest it was no major find, probably no more than 200ft of passages, main passage runs for about 140ft and a right branch for 60ft; both just finish at a dead end.

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    A final one of me for the year.

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    And that was it really, Spent a bit of time looking for the entrances to the upper levels, but the rain got the better of me and thought I’d better leave something to do up here next year.

    It was a nice little stroll, another hidden gem in the Duddon Valley and a great way to end 2014.

    Cheers,

    TLR. ​
     
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  2. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Nice one TLR. Enjoyed your snaps. Good bit of exploring that :thumb
     
  3. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    A very tidy looking quarry! Nice...
     
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  4. Nickindroy

    Nickindroy A Porky Prime Cut
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    Always love you strolls mate. :thumb
     
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  5. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Cheers Nick; I quite enjoy my strolls too :)
     
  6. Keynsham

    Keynsham 28DL Full Member
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    "love the Duddon Valley, it’s far from the maddening crowds even at the busiest times of year."
    First visit this year I get run off the road by a 4wd in a great hurry. Next time I follow another 4wd at 15mph slowing to 5mph when passing oncoming cars. The maddening crowd has all gone to Seathwaite this year.
    More seriously, the mine you know as Crook Wood looks very like what I have just learned is Chaddock's level, at least according to Mr Glover.
    Any idea what is happening at Duddon Furnace?
     
  7. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    It's still one of the quieter Lakeland valleys, that's why I love it.
    Thanks for that info, will follow it up and see if it's also known as Chaddock's Level, there are a fair few workings in that area. Everything I have read already just calls it Crook Wood.

    Not sure what's happening at Duddon Furnace, was only in the Duddon early this year, spent most my time in the slate mines and quarries in Langdale this summer.
     
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