The Newlands Valley is one of the best places to discover the industrial history of the Lake District. Four hundred and fifty years ago peoples attitude to the Lake District was very different to those today. Whilst no value was placed on the scenery, the mineral veins that coursed through the fells attracted prospectors who quickly realised that the District was a potential gold mine. Royal patronage accelerated the exploration resulting in a landscape rich in mining artefacts. Nowadays nature is gradually reclaiming this industrialised landscape, but there are still many features to be found. It is a fascinating world of adits and leats, spoil tips and “t’owd men”, of fortunes won and lost.
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Take a walk up to Force Crag Mine at the head of the Coledale Valley near Braithwaite. The last mineral mine to be worked in the Lake District. Watch out for the public open days that allow access to the processing mill and guided walks that reveal so much about this once industrial site.
Planning your visit…
Facilities are sparse, but there is a pub at Swinside, and Low Snab Farm directly below Goldscope Mine has a café. Nearest public toilets are in Braithwaite village. Nearest petrol station is in Keswick. Expect rough terrain and occasionally some steep ascents to get to the actual sites.
Please note very well that whilst surface features can be explored with reasonable care, going underground into mine workings is extremely dangerous. Whilst always tempting, please do not enter the workings.
How to get here:
By car from Keswick: Car parking is available at Chapel Bridge (232 150) for Goldscope, and Uzzicar (233 217) for Stoneycroft.
As a ranger I work mainly in the valleys of the northern part of the Lake District and I look after the human part of the landscape; things like walls, hedges and the like. I've been doing this for a very long time, driven by an extraordinary passion for the landscape of Lakeland(the finest corner of England) and Borrowdale in particular (the finest corner of the Lakes). I'm really fascinated by history in the landscape, the sense of human roots in this boney land. I've also got a bit of an obsession with cartography...