There were only 3 of us today, Geoff had family commitment's and was away for the weekend.
On last weeks Countryfile tv show they mentioned how the river in Lathkill Dale had dried up and so we thought we would go and have a look.
We parked up in the layby just above the medieval Conksbury Bridge, this bridge served the Turnpike from Newhaven to Grindleford and was also a sheepwash until the end of WW2.
We set off along a nice flat track alongside the river Lathkill.
|Rob & Ike in wet weather gear.|
|River Lathkill in full flow|
There is a section of the river that dries up every year but this year its much worse than normal. The latest theory assumes there has been some sort of breach from the soughs to join up with the Magpie mine sough and then down to the river Wye.
|That's me stood in the middle of the river Lathkill|
|Clapper Bridge over the dry river bed.|
|Nice brace of pheasants|
|You can just see the remains of the pumphouse through the trees.|
A sough is the passage where the drainage water from the mine flows to join the river.
Some of these soughs can be miles long and cut through solid rock. They often took years to construct but the benefits to miners were enormous. The soughs were part of a system where the water was drawn up with large pumps from below the mine workings and this would ensure dry conditions for miners to extract the lead ore.
|Rob & Ike on top of the sough|
|Exit of the Mandale sough|
|Inside the sough|
|From inside looking out.|
|Remains of Batemans House|
|Footbridge over the Lathkill river to Batemans House|
This was constructed in 2004 by Natural England.
|Rob & Ike going down to the see one of the shafts.|
|Shaft viewing level.|
The remains have been made secure by Natural England so visitors can safely have a look around.
When you descend the access ladder to the shaft viewing level there is a hand crank which generates electricity to power some display lights.
We left Batemans House and headed back to the corn mill where we saw a dry area to stop and have breakfast.
|Ike heading for the chuck wagon|
|Well it was dry and out of the wind.|
|Spotted this little beaut sitting on a wall.|
A last note in 1854 there was a section of the river where gold fever took hold. A mine was started and shares were sold for £1 each and quickly zoomed to £30 each and then they found out it was only Fools Gold, the mine was closed as quick as it opened. No doubt somebody made a profit!!
A trek back to the car and off home.
see you next week.