white horse logo

Grinton lead smelting mill
Grinton lead smelting mill

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 2018 walks | 2019 walks | 2020 walks |
| 1993-2000 library | Find a Route Index |
| A few Routes to print out | Request a Route... |

Route No. 792 - Thursday 31 October 2019
Cogden Gill, Grinton Lead Smelting Mill,
Glead Gill, Cogden Moor circuit - 3km
Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central Areas


Our parking spot off the road about 100m from the road bridge over Cogden Gill
Our parking spot off the road about 100m from the road bridge over Cogden Gill

The very changeable and wet weather has continued throughout October but this morning the forecasters expected a dry but cloudy day and my friend, Jim, and I drove to an old lead smelting mill not far from Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel. From Leyburn in Wensleydale we drove across the moor towards Grinton in Swaledaledale. We passed the military shooting ranges on our right and continued almost to Cogden Gill, swollen by the recent rain. About 100m before the road bridge over Cogden Gill we parked off the road on the left at map ref. SE 048 969, where a wide stony track heads up across the moor.

spacer spacer

The stony track from the road up to Grinton Lead Smelting Mill
The stony track from the road up to Grinton Lead Smelting Mill

Out of Oblivion, Grinton Smelt Mill - http://www.outofoblivion.org.uk/record.asp?id=556

Grinton Smelt Mill - A Case Study - https://www.mylearning.org/stories/lead-mining-in-the-yorkshire-dales/49

Northern Mines Research Society, Grinton How Mill - https://www.nmrs.org.uk/mines-map/smelt-mills/smelting/how/

From our parking spot we walked along the stony track heading generally southwards for about 450m following a public bridleway along the track to the remains of the Grinton Lead Smelting Mill. There is a lot of information about this site and the history of lead mining in the dales available.

Here are a few web-sites that I have found interesting:-
Grinton ore hearth lead smelt mill, flue, fuel store and associated earthworks Scheduled Monument Listing from Historic England - https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1016203

The stony track from the road up to Grinton Lead Smelting Mill
The stony track from the road up to Grinton Lead Smelting Mill

The building ahead is the peat fuel store and the roof to the right is the Grinton Lead Smelting Mill
The building ahead is the peat fuel store and the roof to the right is the Grinton Lead Smelting Mill

Grinton lead smelting mill
Grinton lead smelting mill

The partly derelict interior of the mill
The partly derelict interior of the mill

The remains of the mill pond earth dam
The remains of the mill pond earth dam.
The mill pond behind the dam is silted up


The peat fuel store for the furnace with the flue culvert
climbing up the hill side to the chimney on Sharrow Hill

The mill race water entered the building in a wooden trough that is still there in the roof of the smelter. To help provide a strong enough flow of air through the furnace the hot gases from the furnace passed into a 300m long flue, a stone culvert, built straight up the hill side to a chimney on Sharrow Hill.

The building next to the track was the store for the dried peat cut from the moor and the large building lower down on the bank of the beck housed the smelting furnace and its equipment. The smelting furnace was fuelled by peat from the surrounding moors. Huge bellows powered by a large water wheel were used to make the furnace hot enough to melt the lead from the ore. Just up the valley from the smelter there was a low dam holding the mill pond that fed a mill race to supply water to the water wheel inside the smelter building.

Grinton lead smelting mill
Grinton lead smelting mill

Part of the timber structure that supported the water wheel and bellows with the mill race wooden trough in the roof behind
Part of the timber structure that supported the water wheel and bellows with the mill race wooden trough in the roof behind

Part of the flue almost in tact
Part of the flue almost in tact

Stony track from the mill heading up the valley
Stony track from the mill heading up the valley

We took the left hand grassy track at this fork
We took the left hand grassy track at this fork

Continuing along the track climbing up the moor
Continuing along the track climbing up the moor

We kept straight on along the left hand grassy fork of the track climbing up the moor still following the bridleway for another 250m. At this point another bridleway crossed our track marked by a tiny 'cairn' on either side of our track. (the two cairns consisted of three small flat stones each)

From the smelting mill we continued along the bridleway on the stony track now heading roughly southeast still climbing up the moor. After about 350m from the mill the track forked. The right hand stony track headed down to cross the gill below.

Continuing along the track climbing up the moor
Continuing along the track climbing up the moor

Looking back to the hazy line of Fremington Edge
Looking back to the hazy line of Fremington Edge

Sharp left turn at the two tiny 'cairns'
Sharp left turn at the two tiny 'cairns'

Following the bridleway to Sharrow Hill at the end of the ridge
Following the bridleway to Sharrow Hill at the end of the ridge

Following the narrow bridleway through the heather
Following the narrow bridleway through the heather

Jim reached the site of the chimney well ahead of me
Jim reached the site of the chimney well ahead of me

We continued along this narrow bridleway for about 500m to the site of the chimney on Sharrow Hill. The base of the chimney is visible amongst the rubble with the rubble remains of the flue culvert leading directly down the hill side to the smelter by the gill below.

We turned left here to follow this very narrow bridleway through the heather and bracken towards Sharrow Hill at the end of the ridge about 600m away to the north.

Following the bridleway to Sharrow Hill at the end of the ridge
Following the bridleway to Sharrow Hill at the end of the ridge

Continuing along the bridleway along the ridge
Continuing along the bridleway along the ridge

Rubble at the site of the chimney on Sharrow Hill
Rubble at the site of the chimney on Sharrow Hill

Looking down the demolished flue towards the mill with a wall foundation visible in the foreground
Looking down the demolished flue towards the mill with a wall foundation visible in the foreground

Narrow bridleway from the chimney site
Narrow bridleway from the chimney site

The bridleway became a wider grassy track
The bridleway became a wider grassy track

One of the Sharrow Hill quarry lime kilns
One of the Sharrow Hill quarry lime kilns

About 150m from the chimney site the track bent briefly right down a steep grassy slope and then continued around Sharrow Hill past an old lime kiln with rocky outcrops above us. We walked along the clear grassy track out to the road at map ref. SE 052 969.

From the site of the chimney we dropping down from the site of the flue and bending to our right around the side of Sharrow Hill. The narrow bridleway became a wider grassy track through the old Sharrow Hill quarry where stone was cut for the smelter buildings.

Following the narrow bridleway down from the chimney site
Following the narrow bridleway down from the chimney site

Short steep descent to join the grassy track at a lower level
Short steep descent to join the grassy track at a lower level

Grassy track from the lime kiln head down to the road
Grassy track from the lime kiln head down to the road

Grassy track to the road where we turned left
Grassy track to the road where we turned left

We walked down the road back to our parking spot
We walked down the road back to our parking spot

It had been a short walk of a little under 3km and including a long look around the lead smelter remains it had taken us about 2 hours to walk and explore.

At the road we turned left and walked down the road for about 400m back to our parking spot off the road on our left and the end of our walk.

We walked down the road back to our parking spot
We walked down the road back to our parking spot

Returning to our parking spot at the end of our walk
Returning to our parking spot at the end of our walk

Top of Page