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Phil Richards holding a piece of lead ore (galena) on the Yarnbury lead mines trail

Yarnbury lead mining interpretation renewed

Tuesday 4 June, 2024, by News Release

A walking trail through one the most awe-inspiring industrial heritage sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been renewed.

Thirty years ago a total of 18 beautifully illustrated interpretation boards were stationed around Yarnbury, a vast former lead mining area near Grassington.

With the boards having rotted in the exposed moorland setting, replacements were made and installed earlier this spring.  The trail starts by Moor Lane and weaves through the 400-year old workings to the ‘Cupola’ smelt mill chimney standing proud of Grassington Moor, a landmark saved by the Earby Mines Research Group in the early 1970s.

The trail restoration project was part-funded by the Our Common Cause project and by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.  A short video made at Yarnbury can be seen on YouTube.

The National Park Authority’s Area Ranger for Wharfedale, Phil Richards (pictured holding a nugget of galena besides one of the new boards), said he’d been coming to Yarnbury all his life.

“I was born in the village, down in Hebden, so as kids we would come up and explore the area.

“The trail is well used and it’s nice that we’ve managed to replace the boards and carry out various practical works, because it is quite popular.

“But you can get a sense of solitude here, too. It’s a wild spot, very exposed. There’s gritstone overlying limestone and that’s where the veins of galena were found.”

He said that among the most astonishing features of the Yarnbury and Grassington Moor lead mining trail were the dams and leats, constructed to collect water off the moor:

“One of the important things with any mining industry but especially lead was water, so there are various dams around, to power the water wheels to pump out the water from the deep shafts.  Leats carried water off the moor to these dams; it’s an amazing piece of engineering.  The fall on them is so slight, bringing the water downhill, it’s fascinating.”

The trail is partly on a bridleway and partly on Open Access land.  It can be visited at any time.

Picture of News Release

News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


One Reply to “Yarnbury lead mining interpretation renewed”

  1. Pat Duggan says:

    ? map of route and time as well as difficulty would have been a nice edition. Sounds interesting,

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