Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

On Saturday, we went to Alderley Edge (about 20 miles from Roachside), to the twice yearly open day at the Alderley Edge copper mines, hosted by the Derbishire Caving Club .

What a cracking day out!

The Alderley Edge mines in Cheshire, UK, were mined from the Bronze Age (c. 4000 years ago) until the early 20th century.

Many of the mines are owned by the National Trust and have been leased from them by the Derbyshire Caving Club which maintains access, and continues to explore and search for areas of mining that have been closed for centuries.

The DCC have spent decades making safe these workings and enabling countless archaeologists to determine the history of mining and mining technology.

Twice each year, the club holds an open weekend where members of the curious public are escorted into the old workings with a knowledgeable guide.

We crouch-walked in narrow tunnels, bumping our helmets on the rock above. We learned about fault lines, shot-drilling and black powder. We even learned about how some of the shafts had been used to dump household waste in the 1950’s – the refuse piles are still there, completely undisturbed.

More than anything we learned an appreciation of how horribly hard life must have been for the miners who spent their (frequently short) working lives in the suffocating darkness, with sudden death always a mere misstep away.

Even Scout was allowed to come along – though periodically she would look up at my face, topped by a strange helmet and headlamp, and give me the “are you sure this is the right way?” look!

Footnote:  Quite a paradox that Alderley Edge, now home to mega-wealthy football stars and the super-rich of the Northwest, was once populated by people who toiled beneath the earth for a pittance.

I wonder how many of the "glitterarti" have been down here? 

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