Businesses in Nenthead Towns and Villages of Cumbria

Nenthead

(See also Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre)

Nenthead courtesy Helen Wilkinson www.geograph.org.ukNenthead, situated on Alston moor by the river Nent, is a former major lead mining site of the north Pennines. Before the mining industry moved in full force to the area, it was home to only a few people, about 23 in 1315. At that time silver and lead mining were carried on to some extent in the general area.

In 1738 a smelt mill was built at Rampgill and purchased by the London Lead Company, a Quaker owned company, in 1753. They extended it and built cottages for the workers. The company built further cottages in 1825 at Nenthead to administer its mines in the area and to provide housing and social care for its workers.

Nenthead St John Evangelist church courtesy Mick Garratt www.geograph.org.ukThe village, one of England’s highest at 1450 feet, provides views from its streets that meander up and down the hillside. The village hall dates from 1818 and served as a school for the local children. In 1833 the first free library in England, the Reading Room, was built by the London Lead Co. to serve the miners. A Methodist chapel served the faithful and saw visits by John Wesley in 1748 and 1770.

In the village is the Miners Arms, a 17th century sandstone pub. It first served as the village inn, but in 1823 was purchased by the London Lead Co. A restaurant and accommodation provide amenities for the walkers who enjoy the scenic countryside surrounding the village.

Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre by Mick GarrattThe North Pennines Heritage Trust is based in Nenthead. The history of the area is detailed at the Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre where displays tell the story of the people, places, tools, lifestyle, and legacy of the mining industry. The 200 acre site, one of the largest in the north Pennines, provides self guided trails, a picnic area, cafe and shop, bunkhouse accommodation, and mineral panning.

Two attractions are subterranean: Carrs Mine and Brewery Shaft. However, to explore the mine requires mine and cave exploration equipment. A local outdoor centre takes groups underground to Smallcleugh mine. The miners didn’t cart the waste material from the lead mining to the surface but simply stacked it up, so the paths through the mines are narrow. The interconnected mine working stretch for miles in every direction.

Photos courtesy of Helen Wilkinson , Mick Garratt The Geograph British Isles Project

Nenthead is located on the A689 south-east of Alston.

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