Back in August 2018 me and two friends decided we would like to explore some of the old mines that are around the country. One of us had done this numerous times before and so would be our guide to how things should be done. Some research was done to find a mine which none of us had been in before and and Mouldridge Lead Mine was chosen. This mine is easy to explore for the least experienced among us and is a good starting point. The mine is Just north of Pikehall near Matlock.
History of Mouldridge Lead Mine
Mouldridge mine is a lead mine in the Derbyshire hills and has been worked on an off since the late 1700th’s all the way up until the 1950’s. Now there is a ‘catflap’ installed on the entrance and it is used regularly on guided underground tours due to its ease of access.
On the day
Meeting around half 10 after driving over from Lincoln we parked up and checked our kit. Helmets, torches, waterproofs, food and drink and some decent footwear all present and correct. We proceeded west along the main road up the main public footpath. Following this until taking a left, over a style and along the valley footpath. We soon started to encounter evidence of surface workings and the remains of a small building. After climbing the small hill alongside this building the main entrance come into view.
We had a quick bite to eat before getting kitted up and heading inside.
This being my first adventure into an old mine, not including them public walk in ones, anything looked at seamed fascinating to see. Whether it was unusual rock formations, deposits on the walls and ceilings from the water running through the rock or the lead seam that still remained in the walls.
Heading further in there was evidence of old areas being filled with stacked deads (Unwanted material).
Following the main access passageway further in there were numerous smaller passageways leading off in all directions. These lead to the working faces of the mine. It was decided to continue down the main passage way as far as we could and then explore these other passage ways on the way back.
Along this passage way is evidence of old pipework and cabling that was heavily deteriorated in places. The pipework switching between flexible and steel pipes at various points.
In alot of places there appeared to be lead deposits still in the rock which had not been removed.
At one point we found a passage going up into a small hole. A small ledge and sloped sides allowed us to climb up to investigate.
Climbing back down we continued on and found a small ‘tunnell’ just big enough for a person to climb up through. One of us was insistent on trying to climb up, not me by the way, so with a bit of a push up he went into the passage above. This seamed a little pointless as the remaining 2 of us walked a bit further along to find the two passages joined up.
At this point we decided we was hungry and so we headed back to the large open area near the entrance for lunch.
After getting filled up we headed back in to finish exploring the number of smaller side passages and pockets.
At one point we reached a dead end where the tunnel come to a point. This we believed would of been where someone was digging away with a pic or similar tool and reached the end of the vein they were following.
Moving into tunnels heading south from the large are where we had lunch we found a couple of shafts to the surface where the tops had been covered with concrete sleepers.
We noted these so we could find them once we got out.
After investigating a few more small passages and holes we believed we had covered all there was to see for the day and headed for daylight.
Back on the Surface
Getting back on the surface we de-kitted’ before heading up the hill to find the tops of the shafts we had found earlier.
After finding multiple holes in the ground which were most likely dug out or are where other shafts come to the surface and have since caved in.
Eventually we found the ones we were looking for.
On top of the hill the ground resembled a battle field.
After looking into a few of these we headed back to the cars.
More mines will be explored in the future. Some may get a write up depending on a few things.