Report - - Swaledale Lead Mines 2 - Swinnergill (Yorkshire, 2020-2022) | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Swaledale Lead Mines 2 - Swinnergill (Yorkshire, 2020-2022)


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Swinnergill mine is just round the corner from Beldi Hill (suject of a previous post) and worked the same set of lead veins which run across the head of the Swinnergill valley.

It operated from 1705 until the late 1800s under a succession of owners, but was never a major producer.

Underground access was originally by shaft, later facilitated by a horizontal tunnel (Parkes Level) driven in the mid 1740s from lower down in the valley.

The Parkes Level served both Beldi Hill and Swinnergill until legal squabbles forced the owners to make another tunnel (Main or Low Level) immediately in front of the mine.

Near the entrance is a ruined smelt mill, thought to have operated from c.1807 to 1819, smelting lead from both mines.

The photos are from two trips - a return was necessary because there was more underground than I was expecting so I didn’t get round it all the first time.

Although this is clearly a well trodden place, there aren’t many pictures of what’s down there - three photos on AditNow seems to be about it.

View up the valley showing the ruined mill in the distance.

View down the far righthand valley in the last photo, showing the mill again, with Beldi Hill in the distance.

This was taken at the approximate position of another access tunnel (Top Level on the mine plan above), which I didn’t find.

There was also a third tunnel, Smiddy Level, which I forgot to look for but might be further down on the right above the mill.

Another view, this time from up on Beldi Hill, with some walkers sitting in front of the Main Level at the bottom.

Not much left of the mill.

The path of the flue can be seen running up the hill behind with an opening to the left which may have been a culvert for the waterwheel (the mill apparently had internal wheel for the bellows).

Ore would presumably have been processed here as well as smelted but there’s not much evidence of that e.g. big spoil heaps, maybe because the mill had such a short life.

A shaft nearby (Smiddy Shaft).

Now into the mine - I probably spent about 4 hrs in here in total but stayed on one level and maybe saw about half of what’s shown on the plan.

Around round the corner on the right is a sump - there are a couple of these with flowing water at the bottom, maybe draining out to the Parkes Level.

Another sump at the first junction.

Going right.

One of several worked out spaces above (water on the lens) and some low grade ore.

The yellow stuff on the left comes from a small waterfall emerging from a tunnel with what looks like a shaft at the end.

The main drag eventually forks with both routes blocked.

Back to the first junction, now going left.

Straight on goes under more worked out spaces to another junction.

I don’t seem to have many pictures from beyond here but as far as I remember straight on was eventually blocked, and right wound around a bit getting smaller and wetter until I gave up.



28DL Regular User
Regular User
Back at the previous junction with the sticks, the right fork follows a vein, mostly roofed over but with glimpses of large worked out spaces above.

One of them had a kettle.

Looking up.

Now into a wetter section which meanders around before hitting a junction, both ways eventually blocked.

Lens steaming up again here.

A few more heading back out.

I had originally intended to check out another level further up Swinnergill Beck, but ended up looking round Swinnergill Kirk instead.

Despite the name this is just a limestone cave, maybe 50 yards deep.

A nice spot to have lunch.


Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Really really enjoyed this. Never been anywhere like this. Surprised to see the ruins on the OS 1854 still about. What a lovely area, mines everywhere, ruins and beautiful views & moving water. Stunning photos of everything.:)


28DL Regular User
Regular User
That's beautiful. And I love that waterfall shot. I do have a thing for waterfalls.

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Very nice, look an interesting mine and some cracking photos :thumb