Snailbeach lead mine
Snailbeach mine Heritage Open Days
Snailbeach is a quiet Shropshire village, but in Victorian times it would have been far from quiet - it was the hub of the South Shropshire lead mining community. There are open days at the mine throughout the summer.
For a small village, Snailbeach has a thriving community, a community that is proud of its history and Snailbeach people are always keen to share their knowledge of the lead mines, which date back to Roman times.
The volunteers of Shropshire Mining Trust take care of the buildings that remain on the site of the mine, and their tours of both the surface structures and the underground workings offer an insight into life down Shropshire's most famous mine.
Guide Nick Southwick in the blacksmith's
The mine will also be open every Sunday from 31 May to 25 October. Experienced guides will show visitors the mine buildings and the old workings. New this year is a Snailbeach District Railway hopper wagon. The remains of two wagons came to Snailbeach from the Ffestiniog Railway.
Find out what the miners' dry is - and while you're there, have a look round the displays in the interpretation centre. If you are brave enough, you can go underground and get a flavour of the miners' working life as it would have been 100 years ago.
Snailbeach is just to the south of Minsterley, one mile off the A488. There is a car park by the village hall.
This mine has perhaps the best set of lead mine buildings in the UK. You will be able to go into the locomotive shed, blacksmith's shop (with forge working), visitor centre and see the George's Shaft headgear.
Looking at the work surface.
It was in George's Shaft that seven miners died in the disaster of 1895. The cable carrying a cageful of workers on their way to the work surface broke sending the men to their deaths at the bottom of the shaft.
Volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions about the mine which in Roman times was reputed to be the most productive of its kind in Europe.
There will be short underground trips into Day Level, pushed most of the way in a truck! Helmets will be provided and the level will be lit but you may like to bring a torch for extra lighting. The section at the end is sometimes slightly muddy so if you do not have wellies then be prepared for muddy shoes. At the end there are displays of mining equipment and your guide will explain about mining techniques.
For the more adventurous there is a longer guided underground tour into Perkins Level. Helmets will be provided and we have a few lamps available but bring your own torch to be sure. You must have wellington boots, or a change of footwear, as a short section at the entrance can be up to six inches deep in water at times.
This is another lead mine, a few miles to the south, which is owned by the Shropshire Mining Trust. It has an almost complete engine house and chimney, as well as other features, which have been recently preserved. Trust volunteers at the main Snailbeach site will be able to help if you want to visit.
last updated: 04/06/2009 at 14:42