Peak District National Park
What is it?
The mines at Ecton were once among the richest and deepest copper, lead and zinc mines in Britain. They’re now a scheduled monument and underground Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Why it is special?
In its heyday in the late 18th century Ecton was at the forefront of developments in mining technology. It was the site of:
- the deepest shaft mine in Britain at the time
- place where explosives first used in British mines
- an early Boulton and Watt steam engine was developed here
- the use of water power for mine pumping pioneered here
The copper and lead deposits at Ecton Hill were worked for more than 3,500 years, with fortunes made and lost. Mining ended there in 1891.
In the 18th century the fifth Duke of Devonshire made a profit of more than £300,000 which is said to have financed the building of the magnificent Buxton Crescent.
Tell us something we didn’t know
A film called The Hollow Hill: The Story Of Ecton Mines has been made about the mines. It features Peak District National Park senior survey archaeologist John Barnatt who has been investigating the mines for the past two years, funded by English Heritage.
Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, has visited the mine with John Barnatt. He shows you what it is like in his blog post:
How to get there
Ecton Hill (site of the study centre and mine) is in the south-west corner of the Peak District National Park about 12 miles from Buxton. Take the A515 then B5054.
Grid reference: SK 097 583