Shaping the Valley

The Landscape of the Washburn Valley

Lead and iron are the main metals to have been extracted and smelted in the Washburn Valley, lead having been worked from Roman times, or earlier, into the 20th century AD with iron working continuing from an unknown beginning to the Middle Ages.


Lead extraction was mainly in the limestone area of the north although there was a 19th century mine at the head of Hall Gill where the surface geology is Millstone Grit. Old lead workings are more accessible and more obvious around Greenhow, just beyond Washburn's watershed.


Medieval iron smelting was recorded at Blubberhouses and a site on a tributary of the Washburn at Skaife Hall Farm has been investigated. There are quarries and delves on the hillside above the site (many marked by gorse bushes) and these are likely to have been a source of iron ore. There are also old pits and adits on Hanging Moor, a mile or so to the north.

Mineral Working

Lead Mining near Greenhow

Iron Extraction near Blubberhouses


Silica Sand, Blubberhouses






Lead Smelthouse Site, Hoodstorth - 1762 to 1825

Galloway Pasture

Craven Moor

Medieval Iron Smelting Site near Blubberhouses

Bloomery Furnace Site

Slag Heap

Smelting site & probable ore quarries (gorse)



Delves -



Nodule EPSN0007 Pit WN2 Scaife Hall Iron 0839