A Circuit Of Coppermines Valley Coniston 9th May 2011.

A walk up the left side of Church Beck to Miners Bridge then to Red Dell and up the old decaying Thriddle incline to Levers Water. From Levers Water down Boulder Valley to The Pudding Stone. I turned left here and traversed across the mountainside to the collapsed Grey Crag Mine level then across the wooden bridge over Levers Water Beck and then down through the valley past the old mine managers office (now a youth hostel) and on back down to Coniston.

A word of warning. There are numerous fenced and unfenced abandoned mine workings and entrances spread all over the coppermines valley and mountainside. DO NOT attempt to enter or explore them except with a mining expert who knows these old workings very well. A lot of these mines contain vertical stopes and drops hundreds of feet deep even before you reach the flooded parts. These stopes have or had horizontal wooden floors now mostly rotten and highly dangerous.

Coniston Office
Looking from Church Beck bridge to the offices of Coniston Coppermines Holiday Letting Company. I start my walk by going up the lane to the right of the buildings. These offices used to be a cafe years ago.


Path left of Church Beck
The path up by the side of Church Beck. Church Beck is down in the valley over the wall on the right.


Path left of Church Beck
A better view of the steep valley on the right.


Church  Beck waterfall
This waterfall is not far from Miners Bridge.


Church  Beck waterfall
A wider view.


Church  Beck waterfall
Another wider view of the waterfall.


Miners Bridge
Miners Bridge. I walked over the bridge and then turned left up to Coppermines Valley.


View after Miners Bridge
The route up to the valley with Church Beck down on the left.


View after Miners Bridge
The valley begins to open out now as the small hydro-electric generating plant dam appears in view to the centre left of the photo.


View looking back
The view looking back down the track with Coniston Water in the background.


Hydro electric Scheme
This hydro-electric system dam is a fairly recent addition. It wasn't here when I first visited Coniston.


Hydro Electric Scheme
Another view of the dam.


Hydro Electric Scheme
The metal grid stops any stones and debris entering the system.


View of right turn
I turn right at this fork in the track. this takes me up the right hand side of the valley to Red Dell Beck. That is the stream that can be seen tumbling down the mountain in the upper centre of the picture.


View of Beck
Coppermines valley and Church Beck.


View of Beck
The view to the left. Coniston Old Man is the mountain on the left of the photo.


Irish Row Cottages
The cottages below are called Irish Row. These were originally built for the miners who worked here.


Hostel and Mountains
Another view of the valley. The white structure on the left of the picture was originally the mine manager's office, it is now a youth hostel. What a beautifully picturesque location for it.


Hostel and Holiday Cottages
The area behind the youth hostel is what used to be the Bonsor ore dressing mill floor. The barn like building to the right of the picture is holiday rental accommodation.


Coniston Old Man and Brimfell
Coniston Old Man on the left and Brimfell on the right. Stone is still occasionally hewn from the quarry on the mountainside.


Red Dell Beck and Valley
Red Dell Beck. My route takes me along this path to the small mine relic just to the right of the beck.


Bonsor Ore Dressing Floor
A view of Coniston Old Man and the valley from further along the path.


Thriddle Incline
The route now takes me past this old mining ruin and up the remains of the Thriddle incline to the right of the rocky outcrop known as Kernal Crag although shown as Kennel Crag on the Ordnance Survey map.


Site of waterwheel
The remains of a wheel pit.


Red Dell Beck
Red Dell Beck. Photo taken from the bridge over the beck as it flows on it's way down the valley.


Looking back at path
The view from the bridge looking back at the ruined mining relics.


Thriddle Incline
The remains of the Thriddle incline. My walk takes me up the incline and path and I then turn left at top and on towards LeversWater.


Looking Back
The view looking back. The fenced areas are around the Bonsor West mine shaft. On the right is the remains of the Thriddle incline wheel pit.


View down the incline
The view from further up the incline. This incline was built to carry a pump rod from the water wheel below to the mine at the top of the incline.


View up the incline
The view further up the incline.


Higher view down incline
And the view looking back down.


Even higher view down incline
The view looking back from higher still. Just after I had taken this photo, the sky darkened and there was a thunder storm virtually overhead. I thought I had better find cover somewhere. Luckily just to the right was an old mine entrance that had in the past collapsed but I was able to enter into it just far enough to get out of the storm. I was stood in this entrance waiting for the storm to abate when I became aware of a rather unpleasant aroma so I looked behind me and was shocked to see the decaying remains of a herdwick sheep. When the thunder had moved away I was very glad to get out of there. It took some time to get the stench of it out of my nostrils.

Disused mine adit
The remains of one of the mines on the mountainside opposite.


Glimpse of Levers Water
Having reached the top and level ground I get my first glimpse of Levers Water. This tarn is just visible left centre of the the picture.


Levers Water Beck
Looking left, the view shows Levers Water Beck flowing down the mountainside.


View across Coppermines valley to Coniston Water
The view looking down the valley with part of Coniston Water in the background.


Levers Water
Levers Water.


Levers Water
A slightly closer view of Levers Water.


Levers Water
The water level is usually higher than this. The area where I am standing to take this photo would normally be under water. Levers Water is used as a reservoir by the local water company. I don't know whether thats the reason for the low water level.


Levers Water
A view to left. Once again all this area would be under water.


Levers Water Beck
This is the start of Levers Water Beck. Normally water would be flowing over these rocks.


Levers Water
I assume this is the water companies take off point.


Top of Boulder Valley
I begin my descent towards Boulder Valley.


Looking down part of Boulder Valley
A view of the quarry on the side of Coppermines Valley as I proceed down Boulder Valley.


Looking up Boulder Valley
Boulder Valley. It is pretty obvious why it is named so.


The Pudding Stone
This large lump of rock is called The Pudding Stone. I take a path left just before the wooden bridge here and traverse down across the mountainside to where the Grey Crag mine level entrance was before it collapsed. The old metal pipe running down across the path in front of the Pudding Stone used to supply compressed air to the mine further up the mountainside near Low Water.


Coppermines Valley
Coppermines Valley from the path across the mountainside. Irish Row cottages can be seen in the upper centre of the picture. The huge pile of rubble on the left is spoil from the mining that went on here.


Rocky path across fellside
My rocky path across the mountainside.


Levers Water Beck
The collapsed Grey Crag level is on the left just before the wooden bridge. The stream tumbling down the valley is Levers Water Beck.


View down Coppermines Valley
The coppermines valley and spoil heaps.


Coppermines Valley and Steam Yacht Gondola
Having crossed the wooden bridge at Grey Crag level, I begin my descent down the coppermines valley road. In the background can be seen The National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola heading north up Coniston Water. Definitely worth a trip on the Gondola if you can.


Mine ruins and holiday cottages
Part of the Bonsor ore dressing floor and the coppermines holiday rental buildings. Above the mine ruins, there used to be a water yeat to supply some of the water wheels here.


View looking back
The view back up the valley road. Coniston Old Man is the mountain on the left.


View down to Coniston Water
And now I am almost back to where my walk began.

Camera: Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS.

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