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Report - Crook Wood Slate Quarry – Duddon Valley - Dec 2012

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Lone Ranger, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. The Lone Ranger

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

    History

    There isn’t too much if any history on this quarry/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 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.

    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 mines.

    My Visit

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    Over the years I have spent a fair amount of time in the Duddon Valley, probably the last 10 New Years Eves for starters. The quarries and mines are visible, but apart from the odd wander around a quarry or two, and poking my head into a flooded adit, that’s as far as my exploring went; Conistone and Hodgeclose being near tended to lure me away.

    This year I though I explore a some of the local stuff, hours of searching found locations, but very little information or history on any of the Duddon Valley sites.

    Luck was on my side and I got a few spare hours on New Years Eve for my final explore of the year. Crook Wood Slate Quarry was more of a mine than a quarry, in fact there were no rock faces, just a nice 5ft diameter hole disappearing into the hillside next to the derelict mine building.

    [​IMG]

    The entrance even though flooded wasn’t too deep to wade through and get inside out of the rain.

    [​IMG]

    It was a pleasant surprise to see the adit continue on into the hillside, plus it looked nice and safe, far better than the Coniston mines!

    [​IMG]

    At this point I wasn’t sure how far it went, or if there was going to be anything interesting see, so the first feature was some mineral deposits on the tunnel wall.

    [​IMG]

    Was worth a shot of me looking at this interesting feature, honest.

    [​IMG]

    Continuing along the tunnel, water entered through various holes in the roof.

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    After about 75 meters I entered the first chamber, which was about 50ft high, with some steps leading up the scree slope behind, there were a couple of what looked like side tunnels splitting off this main chamber as well.

    [​IMG]

    The side tunnels turned out to be just smaller chambers; only 1 had anything of interest which was an empty steel box and an old tin can.

    [​IMG]

    Again after climbing the stone steps at the back of the chamber I hit a dead end at the top of the vast cavern.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A very enjoyable way to finish the year and has wet my apatite to visit the many more mines and quarries in this valley, after all there may not be mobile phone coverage, but it has a pub.

    Have an excellent 2013

    TLR​
     
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
    aricooperdavis likes this.

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