Duddon Iron Furnace
Lake District National Park
What is it?
This charcoal-fired furnace in western Cumbria was used for making iron objects from 1736 to 1866.
Why it is special?
Although the Lake District is now associated with unspoilt countryside, in the 1700s it was a hive of industry. New technology meant blast furnaces like Duddon Ironworks were built close to woods and rivers which provided them with charcoal and water power.
The furnace had a huge wheel, turned by water from the river, which drove the bellows that pumped air into the blast furnace.
A towering furnace stack and storerooms for iron ore and charcoal survive.
Tell us something we didn’t know
In its heyday, the furnace was in operation day and night for 20-30 weeks at a time.
Each shift needed six men to man the furnace. Two to constantly supply the charcoal and iron ore, called bridge servers, two to weigh the charge and tip it into the furnace mouth, called tippers and two to cast the pig iron, called the keeper and the founder.
How to get there
Take the A595 from Broughton-in-Furness to Duddon Bridge. It's a short walk from a lay-by just outside Duddon Bridge along the Corney Fell scenic route.
Grid reference: SD 197882
Duddon Bridge is three-and-a-half miles from Foxfield, where Northern Rail trains stop.