OREsome North Pennines
Preserving ‘at-risk’ industrial heritage
OREsome North Pennines was a two and a half year project to aid better understanding and improved management of eight ‘at-risk’ structures relating to the area’s mining heritage. The sites are classified Scheduled Monuments by Historic England.
The project, made possible thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Weardale Area Action Partnership, ran from 2016-2018 and has trained volunteers to survey and monitor the archaeological, ecological and geological interest on an annual basis, so that any management problems can be detected before they become critical.
Uniquely, the project provided an opportunity to look at these sites in an integrated way. So any future management of the sites will have due regard to archaeological, ecological and geological features.
In addition to survey and monitoring, the project explored prehistoric and Roman mining activity in the North Pennines, about which very little is known. A programme of guided walks, led by the volunteers, as well as the creation of interpretation material, including self-guided trail leaflets, has helped to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for these sites more widely.
The eight OREsome mining landscapes are:
- Brandon Walls lead mine and ore works, near Rookhope, Co. Durham.
- Cashwell hush and lead mining remains, and Upper Slatesike lead mine and ore works, near Garrigill, Cumbria.
- Coldberry lead mine and associated hushes, near Middleton-in-Teesdale, Co. Durham.
- Lead mines, ore works and smeltmill at Nenthead, Nenthead, Cumbria.
- Middle Greenlaws Level lead mine and ore works, Daddry Shield, Co. Durham.
- Middlehope Shield and Low Slit lead mines and ore works, Westgate, Co. Durham.
- Pike Law lead hushes and mines, near Middleton-in-Teesdale, Co. Durham.
- Whitesike and Bentyfield lead mines and ore works, near Garrigill, Cumbria.
The OREsome volunteers completed condition assessment forms for the historic features at each mine site. The location of these features, and a summary of their condition is available to view from Google Earth. In addition volunteers, led by experts, undertook botanical surveys, and recorded features of geological interest. All eight mine sites are recognised for their historic interest, and some are designated for their botanical or geological interest as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) or Geological Conservation Review sites (GCR). This project is the first time these three themes have been brought together in this way, and it is hoped that the information gathered, and the sharing of expertise, will engender a more integrated approach to the future management of these important sites.
More information on the three themes are available by clicking on the links below:
Volunteers will be supported to continue to monitor the archaeological, botanical and geological interest, so that any management decisions can be based on comprehensive information. One of the main threats to these sites is weather damage and therefore the deterioration of these mining landscapes is inevitable. Recording this change over time will allow future generations to appreciate these sites and the link between the underlying rocks, the mining legacy and the biodiversity associated with them.