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The Coniston Coppermines - Cumbria, United Kingdom

by Skelwithpad  
with a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx
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Story:
Coniston is well known on account of its famous lake on which Donald Campbell tragically died on 4th Jan 1967 but also by the majesty of the mountain which overlooks the village, Coniston Old Man.
At its base miners and quarryman worked for hundreds of years tearing out the heart of the landscape. It started in 1600 when German miners worked the copper veins of the "Back Strings" by the side of Levers Water. Eventually over a period of 350yrs shafts were sunk all over the area which went down to an astonishing depth of 2,800ft.

From the village the route follows the line of the Coniston Railway (closed in 1960's) before striking up to meet the Walna Scar Road at the fell gate. The miners path to the Coniston Slate Mines is followed before branching off over Boulder Valley to Levers Water where the earliest workings are located.

The return is via a  leet  supplying supplementary water to the Red Dell workings. This is a complex area of many sites worked over a considerable period of time. There is the Thriddle Incline with at it's base the remains of a huge waterwheel, lots of deep shafts (fenced off), entrances to mines with shafts in their floors (under lock and key), and numerous smelt mills.

The group of ten miners cottages are known as 'Irish Row'. Lookout for the ice smoothed stone at the side of the track where miner J. Mara chiseled his name in 1877. Rather than dropping down to the road below it is worth a slight climb to return via Mouldry Bank for an exquisite  view over Coniston to the lake.

A field guide by Eric Holland can be bought in the village for further reading.
Tips:
All paths are with reasonable gradients. The route out via the old railway trackbed adds a twist and is far better than the tarmac road from the Sun Inn to the fell gate. I hope you will be as interested about learning about this area as I was.
Not all routes need to lead to the Old Man. 
Photos: See all pictures and videos from The Coniston Coppermines
Trip Info
November 07, 2011
Trip Location: Coniston, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Length: 5.5 miles
Duration: 3 hours
Activity: Walking
Trip viewed 1,261 times
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