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Preserving industrial heritage monuments in the Yorkshire Dales

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 01:26 24 October 2015

Industrial monuments include a cupola smelt mill and flue on Grassington Moor

Industrial monuments include a cupola smelt mill and flue on Grassington Moor

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Volunteers help to save industrial monuments at risk of disappearing

A soil blanket is put in place over vulnerable areas of flue to prevent further collapseA soil blanket is put in place over vulnerable areas of flue to prevent further collapse

More historic monuments reflecting our industrial heritage are being saved from falling into ruin in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with the help of landowners and volunteers. One of the successes, the Bolton Parks mine on the Castle Bolton Estate in Wensleydale, contains a well-preserved dressing floor where ore rich material was processed to retrieve a pure ore for smelting into metal.

The park authority’s volunteers, the Dales Volunteers, carried out a package of restoration work including rebuilding the dry stone boundary wall. Another is the cupola smelt mill and flue on Grassington Moor, a ruined lead smelting mill and a network of more than 1.7km of ground level flues that took poisonous gases away from the smelters working in the mill to a 20m high chimney.

The complex forms part of the larger Grassington Moor scheduled monument, which covers 203 hectares. The project included restoration work funded by English Heritage, as part of the Yorkshire Dales Industrial Monument Management Scheme. The most recent work involved Dales Volunteers – led by Wharfedale area ranger Phil Richards – providing a protective soil cover and a special soil blanket over vulnerable sections of flue to prevent further collapse.

Robert White, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s senior historic environment officer, said: ‘Thanks to the funding from English Heritage we have been able to work with other organisations to reduce the number of monuments at risk from nine down to five. ‘The lead industry of the Yorkshire Dales was a major factor in creating the dales landscape. While the industrial monuments may not have been thought of as part of the natural beauty of the national park when it was designated 60 years ago, they are now recognised as forming an important part of our cultural heritage.

Dales Volunteers led by Wharfedale area ranger Phil Richards carried out a package of restorationDales Volunteers led by Wharfedale area ranger Phil Richards carried out a package of restoration

‘Indeed, they are now part of the special qualities of the national park and a tourism asset in their own right – something to marvel at and wonder how people made a living 150 years ago.’

Tammy Whitaker, planning and conservation director for English Heritage in Yorkshire, said the conservation work shows that the Yorkshire Dales National Park is not just significant for its stunning landscape, field barns and dry stone walls but also for its historic industrial heritage and in particular its former lead mines. ‘We are very pleased to be working with the park authority on these sites, which reveal the fortitude and life stories of the people who worked in them. We look forward to continuing to work together towards future successes,’ she added.

Find out more about the work of the Dales Volunteers at yorkshiredales.org.uk

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