In a follow up to Dr John Helm’s talk “Into the Dark – The Grassington Mines”, ten of us braved 20mph winds to visit some of the sites protected by Grassington Mines Appreciation Group (GMAG).

Starting at Yarnbury in the Old Pasture, we had a chat about some of the buildings including the smithy and the Assay office. The Low Grinding Mill has long since been taken down but the remains of the railway linking three shafts to the mill can still be seen in the ground and in the corner missing from smithy building.

We then followed the old Moor Lane to Worsley Shaft, stopping to look at the reservoir at Yarnbury which was filled by the Duke’s Water Course. We could trace this water course for two miles coming from the New Pasture and also see the complex of flues leading up to the Chimney from the Smelt mill in the landscape.

Arriving at Worsley Shaft in the New Pasture, we quickly ran through what history is known (click here for GMAG site). It was impossible to stand by the fenced shaft due to the stong wind in such an exposed place, so we quickly admired the view and hurried on to Glory Mine via Taylor’s mine. Taylor’s is often visited by walkers and so has been fenced for a number of years.

Glory Mine is close to the track to Mossdale Scar and Conistone and an ideal place to either admire the view or take shelter behind the horse whim wall. As the weather was so adverse, we had a quick look at the rotten sleepers and tin roofing sheet covering the 56m hole before gathering by the wall out of the wind, thereby highlighting why the mines need to be fenced.  The background to the GMAG work  on this 56 fathom deep mine is discussed here.

Next stop was Coalgrove Head, by the 1960’s workings, in which our own Les Bloom was involved in the Design. This was originally the site of the High Grinding Mill, until it was used as target practice by the Army in the second World War and flattened.

72fthms below, the Duke’s level arrived after starting in Hebden Gill and detouring via the Old Pasture field. This was built to drain the lower levels of the mines and travels for 1.6 miles. The major mines are also linked at this level so ore could be moved around and brought to the surface where a crushing floor had capacity.

On the way down from the High Grinding Mill we passed the Cupola Smelt Mills on the left and what is thought to be an outlet from the High Smelt Mill immediately on the right by the track. Off to the right we visited some coal shafts that have just been fenced by GMAG. These shafts are covered by piles of rocks through which the shaft can be seen.

We then hurried back to Yarnbury along the Duke’s New Road, stopping briefly where it crosses Hebden Gill. The road was built in the 1790’s to make it easier to ship out the lead than the Old Moor Lane, but was nearly breached in 1976 when two storms met on the Moor. At the time it was suggested that this barrier prevented “Hebden being washed away”.

We arrived back at the cars thoroughly blown about and ready to get warm.

Keith Parker

Please note: “Northern Mine Research Society (NMRS)” – “British Mining No46 The Grassington Mines” is a good place to start for more information.