Honister Slate Mine

During a day off in the Lake District between meetings, Dad and I went to visit Honister Slate Mine, the only working slate mine (rather than quarry) left in England, but deriving a lot of its income from tourists, buying goods directly, but also tours of the mine, the via ferrata (which I’d like to do sometime) and other variants of activities in and around the mine and crag.

One of the slate sculptures around the site, looking down towards Buttermere. On the right is Honister Crag where the modern mine is, with a track leading up which we’ll take soon to get to the mine entrance.
Site of a former bridge to bring wagons from the Yewcrag Quarries on the Dale Head side to the Honister Crag side.
Dad and the rest of our group head to the mine entrance
The mining operation has created a vast cavern, much of which has in turn been filled with slate waste – unwanted rubbish which has been piled up to avoid the need to take it out of the mountain. As a result, the low entrance passage is mostly through a waste heap, rather than the original mountain rock structure.
Looking up the diagonal shaft which connects the many different levels of the mine, including those still being worked
Above our heads is the angled raw rock that is the ceiling of this cavern, which we walk down over the jumbled heap of the waste that has been dumped here over the years

A really interesting visit. For my taste, and Dad’s too I think, a bit less humour, a bit less social history, and a good deal more geological history and technical mining content would have been a better balance, but still well worth going.

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