Coniston Copper Mines

Published 1 November 2020

Lurking around in my list of potential articles to write for this website is a piece provisionally titled “Hope Cement Works”.

This may seem like a strange thing to cover for a website dedicated to walking. But if you’ve gone on a hike near the village of Hope in Derbyshire, you probably will have seen the cement works. It’s a big, slightly ugly building. It dominates the skyline and looks rather incongruous sitting as it does in the middle of a National Park.

Yet our National Parks were not always places of leisure. Many parts of them were – and still are – industrial. We think of the Lake District as being this beautifully scenic place. But for years many fells were not filled with walkers, but with miners.

The photograph above is of YHA Coniston Coppermines – a hostel that demonstrates what was, and what is, all in one. Nestling under the gaze of the Old Man of Coniston, the hills round here are always filled with walkers. But the hostel’s buildings were once the manager’s building for the copper mines that once dominated this landscape.

Coniston is no longer industrial. But the industrial legacy certainly lives on.

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