Coniston Copper

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We like to think we’re a mine of information, so we’re enjoying a new project in the Lake District to interpret Coniston’s dramatic Copper-mines Valley.

We’ll be working with The Way Design to develop a series of self-guided trails, spotter’s guide, interpretation panels and interpretive hub for the valley on behalf of a partnership included the Lake District National Park Authority. The project is managed by Lisa Keys of Minerva Heritage on behalf of the partnership. This follows our work on the comprehensive interpretation plan for the successful HLF Heritage Grant application.

Bill Bevan writes “I used to work in the heart of the Lake District as an interpreter and archaeologist, so I’m pleased to reunite my acquaintances with the region. The atmosphere of the landscape intertwined with the deep histories to its fells and valleys always captured my imagination then and I hope I can prompt the same connections with today’s visitors who often miss this internationally important copper mining heritage and the dramatic remains that tell its many stories.”

Spreading across a spectacular 57 hectare site above Coniston Water and below the famed 803m Old Man mountain, the mines have a long legacy. Copper extraction dates back 400 years and was a firm favourite of Queen Elizabeth. In the 16th century, she introduced German workers and its fortunes flourished. The mineral was important to emerging industries of a growing Empire. It sheathed ships’ hulls as they sailed the seven seas, was used in weaponry, for coinage and by the navy. Although there were peaks and troughs in the market, Coniston copper continued to be mined until the 1950s. Despite the magnitude of their industrial importance, they are at risk of continuing decline and dereliction.