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Monday, 17 June 2013

Ecton Copper Mines & the Lost Ruchsack

Ike has been chuntering on about the Ecton copper mines so this week we paid a visit. Set off at 06:00am from Robs house and got there within the hour. We parked at the roadside beside the ruins of an old building we think is associated with the railway.
We walked a short distance and we could see a big hill looming in front of us and Ike says I'm not going up there. Well within 5 minutes we were on the track that lead past the folly and up that hill.
It was steady going but it must have been close to a 45 degree slope. Just look at the pic with Geoff and the woods behind him.

Deep Shaft Mine winding house on the right.

Ecton Hill, which has probably been mined for copper and lead since the sixteenth century. It was leased by the owner the Duke of Devonshire until, in 1760, the fourth duke decided to work it on his own account. Within fifty years, it became the richest individual copper mine in England producing over sixty thousands tons of ore.
The mine was most active during the 18th century when, under the ownership of the Dukes of Devonshire, great investment was made in new mining technology to exploit the extensive rich copper deposits within the hill. It became one of the richest copper mines in the world at the time.
As the mine became deeper, the Duke engaged Messrs Boulton and Watt to build a steam engine at the top of the shaft to lift the ore from the depths below. This was completed in 1788 and the Engine House, which was bought by the NT along with the land, still stands and is thought to be the oldest mine-winding engine house in the world.
The engine house is a scheduled monument and is on English Heritage’s list of buildings “At Risk”. With the support of Natural England, we succeeded in getting funding for repair work. The first phase of this was undertaken in late summer 2012, with roof repairs, structural work and site improvements being undertaken. Phase two, planned for 2013, will reveal more of the original interior of the building and provide for some interpretation for visitors.
The mine itself at Ecton is owned by the Ecton Mine Educational Trust, an independent charitable body that we work closely with to promote the use of the mine and the hill for educational purposes. When it is repaired, the Engine House will become part of a tour of features that tell the story of this important site. The NT have started to run events at Ecton, including public events where visitors go for a walk on the hill and then visit the underground mine itself.



The Folly
Fabulous oak door guarded by griffins




Ike & Rob

Geoff looking up to the climb to the Deep Shaft Mine

The road way below.

Deep Shaft winding house


You can see the spire of the folly on the left in the trees and the winding house on the right.


Hugh Carson gave us some great information about the mines on Ecton Hill




The trig point at the top of Ecton Hill




On the way down from the top.


There can't be many better places than this to have your breakfast.

Rob on the footpath back down the hill


Ike & Geoff 

  



 When we got down from the hill Geoff suggested we walk along the route of the Leek and Manifold Light Railway to the tunnel then back along the road to the car.
We got to the bridge and took a few pics there then set off along the old railway route. We met another nice chap that gave some info about the wildlife and birds in the area.


Geoff photographing Ike and Rob on the bridge.






This is where we joined the road



This lovely house is called the Lee
Rob and Ike were ahead of me & Geoff as usual but when we got past this lovely house they hurrying back towards us. Ike had gone to get a drink out of his rucksack and realised  he'd put it down somewhere and left it. Geoff and myself carried on to the Dale bridge where we had taken some pics while Rob and Ike were backtracking all the way to the bridge along the route we had taken. Fortunately i found it in the middle of the bridge still intact. We met them just coming past the caravan site.
This opening is called an Adit which is from the Latin Aditus meaning entrance to the mine. 




Ike  putting swapping his boots for more comfortable slippers.
A great walk this week up and around Ecton Hill just under 5 miles and an ascent of 470 feet from the car to the trig point with some quite steep inclines.
We would have been back a bit earlier if someone hadn't lost there rucksack. I think it may be time to start hanging name cards around some persons neck, he just might forget who his and where he lives.
Cheers.