Ashnott lead mine and lime kiln


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016550

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-2016

Location Description:

Statutory Address: Ashnott Farm, Slaidburn Road, Newton In Bowland, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 3DL


Ordnance survey map of Ashnott lead mine and lime kiln
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Statutory Address: Ashnott Farm, Slaidburn Road, Newton In Bowland, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 3DL

Location Description:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Ribble Valley (District Authority)

Parish: Newton

National Grid Reference: SD6945947983


The monument, located on a limestone knoll on the eastern valley side of Crag Beck and situated to the immediate E and S of Ashnott Farm, includes the earthworks and buried remains of Ashnott lead mine, together with the upstanding remains of a lime kiln.

Reasons for Designation

Ashnott lead mine and lime kiln is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Period: as an early example known through documentary references to have been worked at least as early as the late C13, and also to have been active during the late C16, C18 and C19; * Rarity: as a rare example in NW England of a multi-period lead mine which displays surface and below-ground evidence of both medieval and post-medieval mining techniques surviving relatively undisturbed; * Survival: for its good level of retained features including earthworks and buried remains comprising adits or levels, small rock-cut shafts, numerous shallow bellpits with surrounding spoil heaps, and numerous assorted small open cuts; * Diversity: for the combination of the simpler upper levels and the more sophisticated lower levels, and the presence of the lime kiln which illustrates links between the industrial activity and upland farming practices; * Fragility: as remains which are vulnerable to damage from pastoral farming and best protected through statutory designation.


Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead-mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits and/or shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with an associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts, housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power transmission features such as flat rod systems, transport systems such as railways and inclines, and water power and water supply features such as wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines are of C18-C20 date. Lead rakes are linear mining features along the outcrop of a lead vein resulting from the extraction of relatively shallow ore. They can be broadly divided between: rakes consisting of continuous rock-cut clefts; rakes consisting of lines of interconnecting or closely-spaced shafts with associated spoil tips and other features; and rakes whose surface features were predominantly produced by re-processing of earlier waste tips (normally in the C19). In addition, some sites contain associated features such as coes (miners' huts), gin circles (the circular track used by a horse operating simple winding or pumping machinery), and small-scale ore-dressing areas and structures, often marked by tips of dressing waste. The majority of rake workings are believed to be of C16-C18 date, but earlier examples are likely to exist. Rakes are the main field monuments produced by the earlier and technologically simpler phases of lead mining. They are rare in lead mining areas outside of Derbyshire and the Pennine and Mendip ore-fields.

The date when lead-mining first began at Ashnott is unknown, but documentary sources indicate that mining operations were in progress here during the late C13 and late C16, and during the C18 and C19. A lease of 1538 included the rights to mine lead at Ashnott, and the mine is marked on a 1591 estate plan of the parish of Slaidburn. From the early C16, if not before, miners created an intricate pattern of interconnected workings by chasing the erratic lead deposits present within a small limestone knoll at Ashnott. Underground, the mine workings are on four major horizons; the method of working the two upper levels of the mine was by sinking shafts from the surface, whilst in the two lower levels ore appears to have been passed downwards via underground shafts from the upper to the lower level and then removed along a tramway. Thus the surface workings of open-cuts and bell-pits together with the two upper levels of the mine reached via surface-shafts are considered to represent the earlier periods of mining, while the two lower levels, with their more sophisticated system of haulage, are consistent with C18 and C19 mining operations.

The earliest surviving remains are thought to be those on the margins of the knoll, while later workings in the centre may overlie earlier workings there. The first exploration appears to have exploited natural shake-holes, with examples on the northern and southern margins retaining spreads of upcast material on their downhill sides. The dam on the eastern side of the workings is considered to have served those northernmost workings. The dam to the SE is thought to be of later date, fed by a separate channel from the same issues. This outflow fed various leats (now dry) leading to the workings, and had what is thought to be an overflow heading to the NE, to join the outflow from the earlier dam. Shafts with upcast are thought to have been dug from above and to represent extraction, and those without to have been dug from below, for ventilation. The tramway serving the lower underground levels is thought to have extended to create, and eventually over-ride, the finger dump at the SW of the site. The relationship of the large hollow to the adits to its W suggest that it may represent the worked-out or collapsed remains of a former underground deposit. A major collapse in the price of lead, perhaps combined with the difficulties of extraction at Ashnott, probably brought an end to mining operations in the 1830s.

The lime kiln is of a type commonly built in the C18 and early C19 to provide lime mainly for field dressing, as part of agricultural improvements. It was possibly positioned to make use of some of the waste from the mine.

Underground exploration in 1961 by members of the Northern Cavern and Mine Research Group resulted in a sketch map of the accessible workings, and a report published in 1966. In 2014 the site was the subject of an archaeological survey by the Research Group of English Heritage (now Historic England). This comprised a relatively new assessment type known as Structure From Motion, which uses aerial photographs to construct a detailed 3D model, refined by observations taken on the ground.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the earthworks and buried remains of Ashnott lead mine, together with the upstanding remains of a lime kiln. The surface remains of the lead mine include a group of adits or levels, small rock-cut shafts, numerous shallow bell-pits with surrounding spoil heaps, and numerous assorted small open-cuts.

DESCRIPTION: the lead mine occupies the surface of a limestone knoll at the northern tip of a broad promontory below Crag Hill. The surface workings comprise a complex pattern of in-filled or roughly-capped shafts, open-cuts, adits, spoil heaps and dressing floors, extending over an area of about 2.8ha. The main entrance consists of a level on the western side of the limestone knoll approximately 160m SW of Ashnott Farm.

The main dressing area is on the eastern side of the workings and includes a large bank of limestone debris with several smaller discard mounds, and a shallow depression flanked by low spreads of limestone waste and well-served by leats. Two dams formerly channelled water to these leats; one to the E, visible as two converging banks and a by-pass channel to their N, and one to the SE, visible as two banks set at 90 degrees to each other. Several small tracks lead to the dressing area from the shafts to the S. Some shafts have surrounding upcast from 0.5m to 1m in height, while others lack upcast, for example a small cluster to the SW. Several adits are driven into the western face of the knoll, including two adits with blocked entrances, visible as shallow depressions with spoil heaps. To the E of these is a large depression, which also has adits in its eastern face and appears to be linked by a tunnel to one of the western adits. Waste from the mine forms a series of broad terraces to the W, below the natural limestone scarp. A finger of spoil to the W has a sunken linear feature along its centre.

Underground, the mine workings are on four major horizons, with the two upper levels served by shafts from the surface, whilst in the two lower levels underground shafts lead from the upper to the lower level which in 1961 retained the remains of a tramway including wooden rails with iron running strips attached to the upper surface (several of these rails are now kept at the mining museum in Earby).

The single-pot lime kiln has been built into the hill slope immediately to the E of the farm buildings. It is constructed of roughly-hewn limestone blocks and has a low-arched W-facing draw hole and a slumped hollow marking the charge-hole above.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: this comprises two separate areas of protection. The first, immediately to the S and E of the farmhouse, is focussed on the principal workings and the lime kiln. To the N of the finger-dump at the SW corner of this area, the western boundary follows the inside line of, but does not include, the post-and-wire fence, and the dry-stone wall that runs to the S of the farm buildings. The northern boundary runs along the S side of, but does not include, the track accessing the farm. The eastern boundary follows the line of a small stream and then runs inside, but does not include, a post-and-wire fence which also defines the southern boundary.

The second area, to the SE of the first, includes the remains of a small dam which is recorded in 1847.

EXCLUSIONS: all modern walls, fenceposts, gateposts, telegraph poles, hard surfaces, timber outbuildings and the bases upon which they stand, an oil tank and the base on which it stands, and a timber pole supporting a television aerial are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 27848

Legacy System: RSM


Ashnott Lead Mine, Ribble Valley, Lancashire: An Archaeological Survey Of The Landscape Evidence, Went, D (2014) - research report series no. 74-214

End of official listing