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|Old Gang Smelt Mill and Reeth High Moor|
|Author: Claire, Published: 28 Jun 2015||Walk Rating:|
|North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales|
|A 6 mile circular walk across the Reeth High Moor in the Swaledale area of the Yorkshire Dales. The route visits the remains of the largest lead smelting complex in the Dales, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, before climbing high onto the Reeth High Moor for the return leg. |
These high moorlands are very exposed so please do ensure you are properly prepared with warm clothing and other essentials. The route has several steady but long climbs and descents and follows a stone track bridleway the whole way round. You will need to negotiate a couple of wide gates but there are no steps or stiles on the route. The first two miles of the track is at least 2m wide, is compacted with a well-compacted aggregate and the steepest gradient is 1:10, making it suitable for rugged pushchairs or disability buggies. The rest of the route climbs a bit more steeply, is more uneven, and crosses a couple of shallow fords but in good conditions may also be suitable for the most rugged types of buggies should you be up for the challenge. You will be sharing the paths with sheep for the entire walk. The high moor is used for grouse shooting and the season for this runs from 12 August to 10 December each year. There are no toilets or other refreshments on route. Approximate time 3 hours.
The walk starts and finishes from an informal parking lay-by within a remote section of the moor, which is easiest to access from the small village of Low Row (on the B6270 between Reeth and Muker). The post code DL11 6PF will take you to the Punch Bowl pub in Low Row. With the pub on the left, take the next road on the left signed to Langthwaite. Follow this tiny lane climbing into the moor. Just before you reach a bridge over a stream (with a cattle grid), you will see a road to the right signed for Reeth. Turn right into this road and park in the grass and stone lay-by immediately on the left.
|Start to Old Gang Smelt Mill|
Start point: 54.394 lat, -2.0182 long
Standing in the parking lay-by with your back to the lane, look at about 2 o’clock and you will see the stone remains of one of the area’s old lead smelting mills, Surrender Smelt Mill. This area was one of the most intensively-mined parts of Swaledale in the 18th and 19th centuries. The lead-bearing veins here were very complex, so there are many remains all around you.
|Old Gang Smelt Mill to Level House Bridge|
Start point: 54.4001 lat, -2.04 long
Take some time here to explore this site. This site is the largest remaining smelting complex in the Yorkshire Dales and also contains various stores and workshops of the Old Gang Mine. At the rear of the site is the earliest mill which was known as the New Mill because it replaced earlier mills. This mill began smelting in 1797. In front of this is a larger mill usually referred to as Old Gang Mill which began smelting around 1846. The last smelting on this site took place in 1907. This valley probably has the biggest concentration of lead smelting mills in the country. The first mills were constructed in the 17th century and for more than 200 years this now peaceful valley was a hive of industry.
|Level House Bridge to Second Ford Gate|
Start point: 54.4073 lat, -2.0569 long
Take the right-hand path, a stone track which runs with the stream (Flincher Gill) on the left. The track swings steadily right, passing between old spoil heaps, and leading you up onto Reeth High Moor. Further along, the track crosses a ford and swings right to continue its climb.
|Second Ford Gate to Sheepfold|
Start point: 54.4154 lat, -2.0629 long
Pass through this and stay on the stone track swinging right and still climbing. Follow the rough and rocky track leading you through large spoil heaps that give this section of the moor an eerie lunar feel. Despite its barren appearance, the moor does support a range of plants including heather and cotton grass. Ravens and the ground nesting oyster catchers are common sights in this area.
|Sheepfold to End|
Start point: 54.4155 lat, -2.0427 long
Stay on the obvious stone track, leading you down from the high moor. You will notice a range of sunken wooden hides and the more traditional stone walls, all arranged in neat lines across the moor, called grouse butts and used as the positions from which to shoot the grouse.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
This is a great walk if you like being high up on the moors with a bit of industrial archeology thrown in. You can of course shorten the walk (and still see nearly all of the industrial archeology) by making it into a linear walk and retracing your steps back before you reach the 'Second Ford Gate" waypoint.
|By Richard on 28 Jun 2015|
A brilliant walk high up on the moors, some excellent remains of the mines to have a mooch around. A coffee in Reeth to finish off the day
|By davidrout on 02 Aug 2015|
Fantastic walk high up on the moors. Great place to go if you enjoy quietness and solitude. Just gorgeous.
|By romycat on 17 Sep 2016|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 28 Jun 2015
You will pass by a number of these arches which I presume were the mine entry shafts?
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 28 Jun 2015
The mine ruins show more than just a few walls - given the mine was abandoned more than 100 years ago there is still lots to see.
|Image by: Richard |
Uploaded: 28 Jun 2015
i would presume that working conditions were hard all the year round and particularly difficult this high up on the moor in winter.
|Image by: oldcassop |
Uploaded: 22 Jan 2017
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