Lead mining was a major industry in the North Pennines from 1650 to 1900, employing thousands of people and shaping the landscape that we see today. Many of the buildings and structures associated with lead mining are still standing in the village of Allenheads. These important historical features are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and have recently been designated as one of the Geological Society’s 100 geosites in the UK and Ireland.
The lead mining works at Allenheads include a well-preserved and unmodified example of a 19th Century dressing floor, where raw materials from the mine would have been sorted by hand and the pure lead ore separated out. A set of bouse teams are still clearly visible, where raw material from the mine would have been stored prior to sorting in the dressing floor. Drainage channels and revetted sections of the East Allen river show how the river was modified to support the lead mining industry.
The Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme plans to work with the local community to conserve the buildings and structures in Allenheads that comprise the former lead ore works. We will improve public access and interpretation of the site, and there will be opportunities for volunteers to get involved with our heritage restoration works and learn about lead mining in Allenheads.