I always pause for thought……


Magpie Mine, Sheldon, Derbyshire

Derbyshire is a fabulous county for those who love the outdoors.  Walking, climbing or simply enjoying Derbyshire’s wildlife and its varied countryside.  Despite being a tourist destination it can still be a very quiet peaceful destination and a place to explore.

On many of my walks, I regularly have to stop and pause for thought. The deceptively peaceful countryside just cannot  hide some elements of its busy industrial heritage.

High on the White Peak area of Derbyshire you will probably stumble upon the ruins of a Lead Mine.  Magpie Mine is perhaps one of the largest. The chimney stack, winding shed and other buildings are a familiar icons of our mining heritage.  Magpie is very advanced compared with its predecessors, of which there area many.  Most of the mines were simple holes in the ground or a tunnel into a limestone hillside.  Mining was intensively competitive.  Underground disputes and robbery added to the already tough mining life……  protecting many of those simple ‘holes in the ground’ was often solved by building a house over the hole and living on site!  Truth is many miners were actually Farmers, securing a second income.

Many areas of Derbyshire are now sparsely populated, and despite regularly pausing for thought, it is hard to visualize just how well populated the area once was. Ruins of old farms, barns and small cottages, spoil heaps and mineral waste now overgrown, are dotted across the Peak, each a reminder of busy industrial/farming communities….. still very hard to put a number to the population it once supported….. it now just looks so quiet.

Times change, the economy has changed from industry to tourism.

Pausing for thought in a busy day or relax….. Please..

Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

25th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

2 thoughts on “I always pause for thought……

    1. It does…. I was once told that if you marked out a circle of 5 miles diameter from the mine and one around Derby in the very late 1700s the population round the mine was twice that of Derby. Even then Derby was an important large commercial and industrial town. Makes you realise how busy this “countryside” was.


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