Odin Mine Complex, Castleton (Group Record)

Record ID:  60466*0 / MNA112436
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Scheduled Monument
NT Property:  Edale; Midlands
Civil Parish:  Castleton; High Peak; Derbyshire
Grid Reference:  SK 13412 83464
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Odin Mine is located below Mam Tor on the interface between the sandstone and shales to the N and W and the limestone plateau to the south. The monument includes the area of the mine located on the limestone SE of Mam Tor together with its associated ore works.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • LEAD MINE (Medieval to Late 19th C - 1250 AD to 1869 AD)


Odin Mine is located below Mam Tor on the interface between the sandstone and shales to the N and W and the limestone plateau to the S. The monument includes the area of the mine located on the limestone SE of Mam Tor together with its associated ore works. Further working of the Odin Mine survive W of the core area but have not been included in the scheduling due to their isolation. There is also a group of mine working associated with Engine Sough which are the subject of a separate scheduling.

This part of Odin Mine is divided by the modern road from Castleton to Mam Tor. The ore works lie to the E of the road and include dressing floors and areas of dressing waste and a crushing circle used in the breaking down of lead ore. The crushing circle comprised a gravel-bedded circular iron track with a diameter of c.5.5m. The track itself is composed of eight segments, each measuring c.5cm thick and c.37cm wide. The process of crushing was carried out by a gritstone wheel which now lies to one side of the track. The wheel measures c.1.8m. In diameter and is c.30cm thick. It includes a 30cm square pivot hole at the centre which retains part of a wooden shaft. The wheel was shod round the edge with a 5cm thick iron tyre.

The mineworkings lie predominately W of the road. However, a range of tips and hollow ways also occur S and E of the ore works. These remains are enclosed by a collapsed drystone wall which, on the N side, is parallelled by a second wall. E of the dressing area, there are two shaft which share a large shaft mound with platforms for winding gear. The winding platform for the S most shaft retains parts of its circular stone track. The shaft itself has a well preserved stone lining.
W of the road, the mineworkings include an impressive open cut (an open working along a lead vein) which partly utilised a natural feature known as odin Gorge. Heaps of spoil from these workings occur N of the opencut. A particular feature of this part of Odin Mine is its water management works which include a leat or water channel running parallel to the opencut on its N side. This was dug in order to divert the stream flowing W of Odin Gorge round the head of the opencut which would otherwise have formed a natural watercourse. The leat has a U-shaped profile and measures c.1m dep by 3m wide. It ends to the E on a dam and is believed to have been used to direct water for the washing of lead ore. This is suggested by the occurrence, above the dam, of a 0.75 wide rockcut channel feeding off it towards the ore works. The channel is reveted by a wall on its S side.

Other rockcut channels traverse the mine in the vicinity of the open cut and all appear to have directed water towards the ore works. In addition, N of the lead and this network of channels, there are two large ponds divided by a substantial dam measuring c.20m wide by c. 3m high. The first pond lies W of the dam where it was created by backing up water from several converging natural and rockcut watercourses. It filled the second pond via a sluice at the S end of the dam. A channel Leading S from the first Pond above the sluice was probably an overflow.

The second pond is still party waterfilled and was enclosed to the W by a second dam currently overlain by the modern road. E of the road, N of the ore works, there are at least two further ponds divided from the ore works by another dam. The scale of this water collection operation indicates that full-scale washing and dressing of the lead ore was being carried out on site at Odin.

Odin Mine is a multi-period mine of considerable longevity. Even if claims that lead was mined during the C10 are discounted, there remains good documentary evidence for the use of the mine, under its present name by 1260. Limestone was certainly being worked by 1600 and at least part of the production from 1704 to 1867 and may have been worked continuously from at least as early as 1660. In 1663 a drainage sough was driven W from the mine and was completed by 1670.


Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead mining. The consist of a range of features grouped around the adits and/or shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft of adit with associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later example may include remain 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 wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included ore works, where the mixture of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground was separated to form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised as: picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to smaller sizes; sorting of broken material by size; separation of gravel-sized material by shaking on a sieve in t tub of water; and separation of finer material by washing away the lighter waster in a current of water. The field remain of ore works vary widely and include the remains of crushing devices, separating structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various processes, together with associated water supply and power installations, such as wheel pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses.

The majority of nucleated lead mines with ore works are of C18 to C20 date, earlier mining being normally by rake or hush and including scattered ore dressing features. Nucleated lead mines often illustrate the great advances in industrial technology associated with the period known as the Industrial Revolution and, sometimes, also inform an understanding of the great changes in social conditions which accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased scale or working associated with nucleated mining such features can by a major component of many upland landscapes. It is estimated that several thousand sites exist, the majority being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains of many larger mines have often been greatly modified or destroyed by continues working or by modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class, is considered to merit protection.

Odin mine is a well preserved and well documented lead working site with a wide variety of mining and ore processing remains which include complex water management works and an extant crushing circle. Its importance is enhanced by its being a multi- period site and its unusually long period of continuous operation. [SZE8549]

The following was extracted from the summary field and clearly provides further details of the monument but its source is unclear [R.Briscoe, 28/01/2008] -

The nation's industrial heritage represents a vital element of past societies, in such areas as trade, land use, and economics. This heritage is being lost at a rapid rate, and with it our understand of our industrial past. The Odin mine area is an important part of this heritage, which has probably been worked from Saxon times.

Much of the Carboniferous-limestone massif of the White Peak is riddled with veins of various minerals, most notably the lead-ore called Galena which has been mined at least since Roman times. Castleton lies in the Hope Valley, at the foot of the N escarpment of the White Peak; Odin Mine lies at the W extremity of the Hope Valley. This is the most N exploitation of the Derbyshire lead-veins, situated where the limestone dives beneath the later Edale slates.

The common assumption that the name of this mine derives from a Danish connection and stands witness to mining here before the 11th century is not supported by any evidence. The earliest written reference to Odin Mine is of about 1280, making it the first named mine in Derbyshire. It continued to be worked perhaps intermittently, until at least 1869, with some desultory attempts at re-opening in the C20 for extraction of minerals previously regarded as waste, or "gangue" (fluorspar,barytes and calcite), found with galena and normally forming a much higher proportion of the veins than the lead itself.

The entrance to Odin Mine, known as Odin Gorge, is situated at SK13388347, alongside the A625, which until it was closed at this point following landslips in the 1970's, had formed a major route across the S Pennines since the construction of the turnpike road early in the C19. The main Odin vein, or "rake", outcropped at the surface of the limestone - escarpment in this area and has been completely removed, or "stepped out" creating the Gorge. This was perhaps accomplished largely by open-cast methods, though there is evidence that the Gorge was worked as an underground adit at one stage. High up on the south side of the Gorge, a natural valley in the limestone, called Odin Gully, is now dry but used to be the course of a stream, Odin Sitch, before it was diverted via an artificial leat around the top of the Gorge to avoid flooding the workings. The leat was probably constructed in the C17 or early C18.

Other openings can be seen to the N and S of the mouth of the Gorge. That to the N is believed to be the minor branch vein, or "scrin", referred to in documents as Widowers Venture Vein and worked for an unusual white clay mineral called allophane. That to the S is a natural cavern in the limestone now known as Odin Cave, but formerly as Gank or Toume Hole.

Outside the mine-entrance, and now separated from it by the A625 road, is the site where the initial processing of the ore was carried out. In addition to that from Odin Mine itself, ore from some other local mines was brought here to be crushed then cleaned in the waters of the sitch in readiness for smelting elsewhere. This area of the Odin complex to the E of the road was surveyed and planned in detail in 1989 by the Trent and Peak Archaeological Trust.

The interesting features to the east of the A625, where the initial processing occurred, the crushing circle, Knowles Shaft and gin circle are surrounded by extensive and substantial undulating hillocks, but this part of the Odin complex sits upon the shale beds in an area much prone to landslipping and it is not always easy to distinguish mine-waste from the results of natural earth-movement now that the hillocks are largely vegetated. Moreover it is known that much material was removed from here for road building in the C19 and that reworking of the hillocks around Knowles Shaft for gangue was last carried out as recently as 1944. Consequently, it is clear that the present contours of some parts of the site can owe little to the earlier mining activities. Had this not been so, much more extensive remains of the processing floors and the range of attendant buildings (such as coes, offices, stores, stables and smithies) might have survived today. As it is only small fragments of paving revealed by erosion to the SE of Knowles Shaft (13546-13549/8348-83490) offer any hint of the locations of any such structures.

The Odin workings, and eventually the Cartgate and drainage-soughs, extended for nearly a mile W from the Gorge. A series of shafts (including those named Tinker's Mam Engine, Castleton, Forest and, the most westerly at 1226/8319, West Forefield) indicate the main line of the rake. In some cases, they are still identifiable among the reworked hillocks of waste covering the S flank of Mam Tor, though the hillocks around Forest shaft (1241/8325) have unfortunately been flattened recently during landscaping for a car park. Some of these shafts surface more than 500' (150m) above the Cartgate and had to penetrate through as much as 300' (90m) of Shale to reach the ore-bearing limestone. A further line of shafts running across lower land to the SW, near Peakhill Farm (115/826), marks the position of another sough or pump-way driven early in the C18, probably to drain trial workings in search of a W extension of the Odin veins beyond their known range. Several C18 plans furnish evidence of a number of scrins, some reaching N under Mam Tor.

The site of Odin Mine processing area as a whole has been planted at intervals by the National Park since the 1960's and the N.T Biological Survey note the tree cover varied from about 20% to 70% over the site in 1974. This percentage has been increased by considerable plantings in 1986. This has affected all but the immediate vicinity of the crushing circle and Knowles Shaft.It seems that the policy is to make the area into woodland and the site is being treated as waste ground instead of an important site of industrial interest with a long history as one of the major lead mines and the major processing site in the area.

The crushing circle and its immediate vicinity are a Scheduled Ancient Monument which indicate the importance attached to the remains. It is therefore vital that the site can be appreciated in its entirety so that the more obvious remains can be seen in their proper context. One of the most impressive aspects of the site is the sheer scale of material processed at Odin over the centuries. A walk down the stream gives a good indication of the quantity of spoil produced by the workings here. The layout of the spoil heaps provides important clues showing how the process site was operated and it is important that the spoil heaps are included in any survey of the site. The area involved for survey certainly includes most of the area bounded by the recent post and rail fence and may well extend beyond the fence - a brief visit suggested that this was the case although it is difficult to assess the extent of the process operation due to dense bracken cover beyond the fence and the proximity of the Mam Tor landslip which has disturbed the area.

A further consideration to be born in mind when assessing the archaeological potential of the site is that there was probably a considerable washing operation taking place in the immediate vicinity of the crushing site. The boggy areas just downstream from the crusher may have originated as the site or sites of a washing operation. There is a considerable movement of spoil downstream when the stream is in spate - as can be seen by the stream bed and the build up of material behind the fence which has crossed the stream at the lower end of the site. The material carried down by the stream may well be masking the remains of the washing operation.

The site was visited by archaeologists from Cirencester in June 1992, the visit indicated that the tree planting operation was continuing, on the opposite side of the site to the crushing circle.


  • SNA64640 - Collection: National Trust. High Peak: Edale, Odin Mine Photos - emergency infilling of crushing circle, March 1988.

  • SZE10172 - Unpublished document: G Guilbert, P D Claris. 1990. Correspondence re: Odin Mine, Castleton.

  • SZE11975 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Odin Mine - new planting effect, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 66.

  • SZE12635 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Knowles Shaft, Odin Mine, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 67.

  • SZE1388 - Article in serial: M E Smith. The Odin Mine, Castleton, Derbyshire. 1.

  • SZE142 - Graphic material: P Pedley. Gritstone Crushing Wheel, Odin Mine, Castleton, Deryshire.

  • SZE21207 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Odin Cave & Gorge, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 58.

  • SZE21208 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Odin Cave & Gorge, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 59.

  • SZE27003 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Odin mine, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 53.

  • SZE36983 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Upright Stone in roadside, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 54.

  • SZE38199 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. NT Sign Odmin Mine, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 57.

  • SZE42381 - Photograph - black and white: 08/04/1992. Odin Mine, lead mine (part of complex), Edale, High Peak Estate. 0.5.

  • SZE4457 - Unpublished document: G Guilbert. 1990. OMC Survey Report, Odin Mine, Castleton, Derbyshire.

  • SZE455 - Article in serial: H E Chatburn. 1961. Recollections of a descent to the Cart Gate of the Odin Mine. 1. 4.

  • SZE47120 - Photograph - colour: 01/01/1986. Odin Mine - new planting, Edale, High Peak Estate.. 62.

  • SZE47917 - Photograph - black and white: 08/04/1992. Odin Mine, lead mine (part of complex), Edale, High Peak Estate. 0.5.

  • SZE6224 - Unpublished document: G Guilbert, S J Malone. 1992. Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust National Trust Properties : Edale.

  • SZE8549 - Unpublished document: Beamish, H. 1986. The National Trust Archaeological Survey - Edale (High Peak), Derbyshire.

  • SZE8594 - Article in serial: T D Ford, J H Rieuwerts. 1976. Odin Mine, Castleton, Derbyshire. 6. 4.


Other Statuses and References

  • HER/SMR Reference (External): 258
  • HER/SMR Reference (External): 3327
  • National Park
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (Geological & Biologi)

Associated Events

  • ENA1041 - Field Survey, The National Trust Archaeological Survey - Edale (High Peak), Derbyshire

Associated Finds

None Recorded

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