With extensive, unspoilt views looking out over the beautiful Rea Brook valley, this site is a very important part of Shropshire's industrial heritage and is protected as a scheduled ancient monument. Snailbeach Lead Mine is the most complete collection of mine building remains in England.
Tankerville Mine Shropshire Mines Trust took over the site of Tankerville mine in 1996 and are restoring it. Tankerville was home to Watson's Shaft, the deepest in the Shropshire orefield at 1,690ft. This site is also open to the public.
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Snailbeach was the biggest and richest mine in the Shropshire orefield, so it's fitting that so much of it has now been preserved for future generations. It's also an excellent place to visit to get an idea of what a lead mine was like.
Many of the original buildings survive in some form - they were saved from demolition when Shropshire County Council bought the land that most of them stand on. It is now a scheduled ancient monument.
Visitors are taken along a 100 yard brick-lined section of the tunnel to see the 'tar well'. The tunnel goes further to connect with iron, coal and clay mines, but it isn't safe to go further.
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Callow Hill Quarry (2006) is owned by Tarmac plc and largely mothballed. Occasional quarry products are transported only a short distance along the route of the old railway to a public road (A488) leading to Pontesbury.
Shropshire County Council bought the site in 1990 and made it safe, also acquiring grants to save some 20 buildings on the site considered to be of historical interest. Snailbeach is said to be the best-preserved lead mine site in the country.
Like Snailbeach, it's being restored and some underground levels are accessible under supervision. In its heyday Tankerville had the deepest shaft in the Shropshire ore field - at 1,612ft below surface - and a steam engine more than 1,000ft below ground.
There are opportunities for people to get actively involved, participating in volunteering activities to conserve the historical built heritage through Shropshire Mines Trust.
Snailbeach is typical in that its fortunes rose and fell along with the other mines of the area. It was probably mined by the Romans, and by the end of the 18th Century workings would have been deep enough to warrant a steam engine house.
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The cage, which had been 2.5 metres tall, had been crushed to a fifth of its original height, yet bizarrely one of the miners' watches was still ticking after the accident.
Snailbeach was once one of the most productive lead mines in the world. Several funded projects over the last twenty years have restored many areas and buildings including Black Tom shaft headgear and recently restored ‘jigger’, the Locomotive Shed, Miners’ “Dry”, Winding Engine House and the Blacksmiths Shop. There are also many other buildings to explore including the Compressor House and Cornish Engine house.
Many of the mine buildings and land are owned by Shropshire Council and you can have free access to visit them, although many of the remains are on privately held land. Despite this, a number of mine buildings and features are not accessible to the public, although guided tours can include such features otherwise not accessible.
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Shropshire & Marches Methodist Circuit Tel: 01743 874923 Email the Circuit Office View a map of the Circuit Office location
The Shropshire County Council, using government grants, did extensive work in the early 1990s to make some of the shallow workings safe for the villagers. At the same time, they acquired many of the surface buildings and preserved these  or restored them  from a semi-derelict condition . The white spoil tip on the northern edge of the village, which had been a local landmark, was landscaped and planted with trees as part of the mining reclamation works.
With extensive, unspoilt views looking out over the beautiful Rea Brook valley, this site is a very important part of Shropshire's industrial heritage and is protected as a scheduled ancient monument. Snailbeach Lead Mine is the most complete collection of mine building remains in England, including the engine house, chimney, Blacksmith’s shop, winding engine house, office, miners dry, locomotive shed and compressor house.
When the mines closed the line lost much of its traffic but was rescued by a new traffic flow of stone from Callow Hill Quarry. There was virtually no traffic on the upper part of the line but it remained open as the locomotive shed was at Snailbeach.
However, it is underground where the real life of a miner can be truly understood and appreciated. Although working in a lead mine was no picnic, having to spend 8 hours a day underground, the job was considerably better than that of a coal miner. So why not take a trip into the mines with the Shropshire Mines Trust and experience what life was like for the workers who made Snailbeach one of the most famous lead mines in Britain.
Immerse yourself in Shropshire’s industrial past at the Snailbeach Lead Mines, considered once to be “the richest mine per acre of ground in Europe” and was one of the most famous lead mines in Britain.
This working Victorian town, part of the Ironbridge museums complex, includes the coal, ironstone and fireclay mine at Blists Hill. The mine has a restored steam winding engine, which came from nearby Miburgh Mine and the shaft has been re-opened for a depth of 15 yards.
Breathing new life into an old canal As a new golden age of canals is heralded, we look at the past of the derelict Shrewsbury & Newport Canal - and the plans to restore it to its former glory.
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The work has been carried out by the Shropshire Mines Trust, which also runs tours of the site and an open weekend every year in September.
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Soon after the economics of the mine began to wane, and in 1911 the owners took the decision to stop pumping water from the shafts and allow the lower levels to flood. Mining of barite in the upper levels and from the spoil tips continued until the 1950s when the mine closed for good.
Some remnants of it can still be seen, notably in Snailbeach, where the engine shed has been restored and rails remain in place on the lines leading to the old mines.
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Shropshire Council along with Shropshire Mines Trust Ltd, continue to be successful in obtaining grant funding from English Heritage and other bodies. The most recent project working to restore several more buildings including the Cornish Engine House, the Crusher Complex, Resting Hill Chimney and the buddles helping visitors of all ages and abilities to fully experience the historical lead mining works at the Snailbeach site
Shropshire Mines Trust – Snailbeach branch volunteer to man the visitor centre, give guided walks and carry out occasional practical work.
Although they are harder to spot these days, there are plenty of places in and around Shropshire where mining remains can be visited or even toured.Here are a few of them:
Income was expected from the lease to the county council (lasting until 1997) and from wayleaves for services laid along the old trackbed.
Freight reached a peak in 1909, when 38,000 long tons (38,610 t; 42,560 short tons) were carried, but this proved to be a short term change in fortune for the railway, and demand dwindled again during World War I. In 1923 it was taken over and re-equipped by Colonel Stephens. Stephens bought two new Baldwin locomotives from the War Department Light Railways.