Mining in Derbyshire and the Peak District has been carried out for thousands of years. During that time, the miners have been employed by large companies or have worked as individual enterprises.

Clearly, the individuals will not have been able to afford the resources of the mining companies and have employed cheaper methods of extraction of minerals close to the surface, such as using bell pits.

The spoil for the initial shaft was piled up around the shaft as it was sunk, giving the characteristic crater shape of old bell pit workings.

Image: Bell pit mine near Youlgrave in the Peak District of Derbyshire.

As the vein was worked, new bell pits were dug as the existing ones became unsafe or worked out. In the small image below, you can see the characteristic pock-marks of bell pits that have followed the line of an ore vein near Bradbourne. These kind of features can be seen in many areas of the Peak District's White Peak (the area dominated by limestone geology).

Image: Photograph of a line of pock marks created by bell pit mining techniques near Bradbourne, in Derbyshire's Peak District.

Back to the main mining page or the second mining page or the Ecton Mine Photographs page to see a drift mine entrance and surface shafts.




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