We had a lovely if cool day for our walk from Ballowfields Nature Reserve. 17 members joined David Brooks and Les and Sue Knight to explore the Nature Reserve and associated Lead Mining area along the ancient trackway (Oxclose Lane) that runs from Castle Bolton to Askrigg.
The woodland area close to the carpark is coppiced hazel and contains the residual mine workings and waste heaps (Finger Tips) from the lower levels of the mines. Flora are of types that are resistant to high mineral and metal content in the soil (metallophytes) - plants such as thrift, pyrenean, scurvygrass and spring sandwort.
Proceeding up the gully past the water turbine that provided power to Woodhall garage we entered the main area of the lead mines. This area had been used up to the early 20th century when the waste was processed to extract fluorite and baryte.
Evidence of the mine workings were explored - hushings and water races.
A little higher up the slopes above Oxclose Pasture is the evidence of a settlement - several circular structures along with liner field enclosures.
Heading further east and leaving the area on the mines, three circular features are encountered One large circular feature, with two smaller circular features - finds from this area indicate this area was inhabited during the Prehistoric / Mesolithic and Bronze age periods.
Les gave us the geographical background of this area limestone / shale and sandstone.