Editing Northern Pennine Orefield: Weardale and Nenthead - an excursion

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Continue west to Allenheads. The last 0.8 km of the road follows the valley excavated along the course of one of the main veins, the Old Vein, of Allenheads Mine. Several overgrown shaft dumps may be seen adjacent to the road.
 
Continue west to Allenheads. The last 0.8 km of the road follows the valley excavated along the course of one of the main veins, the Old Vein, of Allenheads Mine. Several overgrown shaft dumps may be seen adjacent to the road.
  
=== Locality 5, Allenheads village [NY 860 453] ===
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=== Locality 5, Allenheads village [NY 860 453] ===
  
Allenheads village [NY 860 453] is a splendid example of a north Pennine lead mining settlement developed around the Allenheads Mine. Many of the original mine buildings remain, including the workshop (now partly converted for use as small business premises) and numerous miners' cottages. Gin Hill Shaft, one of the main accesses to the mine, lies immediately adjacent to the road junction opposite the Allenheads Estate Office. It has recently been excavated and partly restored with a metal grille covering it. Like most mines in the orefield Allenheads relied heavily on water power. Waterwheels and other machinery both above and below ground were supplied from the numerous reservoirs on the hills around the village. A magnificent hydraulic engine built by the famous Newcastle engineer William Armstrong is preserved at the Allenheads Heritage Centre next to the Allenheads Inn.
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Allenheads village [NY 860 453] is a splendid example of a north Pennine lead mining settlement developed around the Allenheads Mine. Many of the original mine buildings remain, including the workshop (now partly converted for use as small business premises) and numerous miners' cottages. Gin Hill Shaft, one of the main accesses to the mine, lies immediately adjacent to the road junction opposite the Allenheads Estate Office. It has recently been excavated and partly restored with a metal grille covering it. Like most mines in the orefield Allenheads relied heavily on water power. Waterwheels and other machinery both above and below ground were supplied from the numerous reservoirs on the hills around the village. A magnificent hydraulic engine built by the famous Newcastle engineer William Armstrong is preserved at the Allenheads Heritage Centre next to the Allenheads Inn.
  
Allenheads Mine was opened early in the eighteenth century and enjoyed a long working life, finally closing in 1896 with an estimated production of 260 000 tons of lead concentrates to its credit, making it the single most productive lead mine in the orefield. The modern stone buildings on the mine site, opposite the Inn, are all that remains of the 1970s attempt to reopen the mine for fluorspar production. This unsuccessful venture was perhaps the most expensive failure in northern Pennine mining history.
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Allenheads Mine was opened early in the eighteenth century and enjoyed a long working life, finally closing in 1896 with an estimated production of 260 000 tons of lead concentrates to its credit, making it the single most productive lead mine in the orefield. The modern stone buildings on the mine site, opposite the Inn, are all that remains of the 1970s attempt to reopen the mine for fluorspar production. This unsuccessful venture was perhaps the most expensive failure in northern Pennine mining history.
  
 
From Allenheads continue south along the B6295 road to Cowshill and then turn sharp right along the A689 to Killhope Lead Mining Centre.
 
From Allenheads continue south along the B6295 road to Cowshill and then turn sharp right along the A689 to Killhope Lead Mining Centre.
  
=== Locality 6, Killhope Lead Mining Centre [NY 826 430] ===
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=== Locality 6, Killhope Lead Mining Centre [NY 826 430] ===
  
 
The site of Park Level Mill and its treatment works has in recent years been restored by Durham County Council to create a most successful open-air museum. The spectacular overshot waterwheel is once again in working order ([[:File:YGS_NORTROCK_FIG_14_2.jpg|Figure 14.2]]) and nineteenth century ore dressing equipment can be seen on the dressing floors. The site is today an excellent reconstruction of a nineteenth century Pennine lead mine. A visit to the museum is highly recommended. Details of the site are interpreted in excellent sign boards and leaflets, and enthusiastic staff are on hand as guides.
 
The site of Park Level Mill and its treatment works has in recent years been restored by Durham County Council to create a most successful open-air museum. The spectacular overshot waterwheel is once again in working order ([[:File:YGS_NORTROCK_FIG_14_2.jpg|Figure 14.2]]) and nineteenth century ore dressing equipment can be seen on the dressing floors. The site is today an excellent reconstruction of a nineteenth century Pennine lead mine. A visit to the museum is highly recommended. Details of the site are interpreted in excellent sign boards and leaflets, and enthusiastic staff are on hand as guides.

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