Magpie Mine - a hidden gem in the Peak District

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Andrew Hayes

One of the most significant lead mines in what we now know as the Peak District has a long and chequered history. 

Magpie Mine is a lead mine near the village of Sheldon, a few miles away from where the A6 road passes Ashford-in-the-Water.

First recorded in 1740 the mine enjoyed its heyday during the 19th century with 800 tons of lead extracted in 1827, a record which remained unbroken until 1871.

The mine was located close to two other workings – the Red Soil Mine and Maypitt Mine,. All three mines were the cause of  bitter territorial disputes between the operations, the miners employed a tactic of lighting fires underground to smoke their rivals out. However, tragedy struck in 1833 when three Maypitt Miners were killed by suffocation.

A trial ensued but all the Magpie Miners were acquitted due to challenges in identifying the actual culprits. However, the disruption caused the mine to run into financial difficulties and it was closed in 1835. There was also talk of a ‘curse’ placed on the mine by the widows of the murdered miners. In 1839 the mine was re-opened by famous Cornish mining engineer, John Taylor, who established new working practices. 

Problems with flooding were eventually solved by the addition of a 2km water tunnel – or sough – between the mine and the River Wye. Construction began in 1873 but it took eight years to complete.

The mine finally closed in 1958 and four years later was taken into the care of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. The location is now a stop off point for walks  in the White Peak, from Bakewell to the east. Ashford-in-the-Water in the north, Flagg to the west and Arbor Low or Youlgreave in the south. 

It is well worth a visit and is particularly haunting on a quiet day when you can wander around the deserted buildings and imagine how it must have been in days gone by. The location has become a popular place for photographers and those looking for a secluded spot to view the night sky.

You can find many tips and suggestions for walks that take in Magpie Mines in our Derbyshire and Peak District walking group.

Below are some of the fantastic photos uploaded by some of our group members. 

 

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Alice Webster

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Andrew Hayes

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Ben Walsh

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Chris Megson

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Chris Riley

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Claire Thompson

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Darren Aero Glossop

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Dave Davis

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Hudson David

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Ian Smith

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Katarzyna Bańkowska

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Kay Gregory

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Marc Green

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Marcus Myers

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Mike Johnson

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Paul Vella

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Paulo Bandini

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Polly Harman

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Sean Smith

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Shaun Murray

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Steven Hewitt

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Tegan Blake

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Tom Vaughn

Magpie Mine

Magpie Mine - Credit: Vinny Coppen


Most Read