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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Unnatural Landscapes

Unnatural Landscapes

Fairly recently I watched a series on BBC 4 which showed how what we now think of untouched and natural has actually been quite dramatically changed by ancient civilisations.   So it is in much of our native ‘wilderness’.  The Lake District fells would not be what they are if swathes of forest had not been cut down for shipbuilding.  The rolling fells cut by dry stone walls would not be present in the Lakes or Yorkshire, where it not for sheep farmers.  

Add to that the industrial past and even the hillsides would not be the same shapes.  The slag and open sides of mines can be seen quite clearly as I learned in an historical walk among the lead mines of Glenridding.  Until then I hadn’t realised that some of the shallow dips in the hills were not at all natural, but the collapse of mine shafts.


This walk, starting at  SE 031 631, Hebden, reveals another area of lead mining. 

The moors are riddled with tracks and lanes, though it didn’t stop a lapse in attention resulting in us missing our way.  What a first appeared to be a natural tarn transpired to be small Mossy Reservoir.  As we had not given the map no more that a cursory glance before setting off the appearance of old slag heaps, mine shafts and finally a very imposing chimney was quite a surprise.  It was not until we reached the area surrounding the chimney that the vastness of the mine was made clear by the information boards.  I can’t remember exactly, the flue for the chimney is over 1k in length, may be 1.7k?  It’ll be on t’internet somewhere. 


The ground was no less boggy than the Lakeland hills though, so the cold was a blessing as it stopped total foot immersion and it was frozen hard enough for Rosie to walk over.  So go prepared for the wet, or in summer.


Jumping ahead a couple of hundred years but only a few miles, the mining is still in full swing at The Coldstones Cut.  Well worth a visit on a clear bright day when it is possible to identify landmarks over 60k away.   The vast open cast mine was still and stationary on a Sunday but there is an interesting monument to the history of mining in the area and the views were spectacular.   There is more information on the industry of the area round Pateley if you follow the Bewerley Industrial Heritage Trail.  Part of which goes through my friends front garden, where I was staying.  So it is very familiar.


More pictures of the weekend here

More walks here

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