Cupola smelt mill

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Cupola smelt mill and flue, Grassington Moor from the air MYD4373 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Cupola smelt mill and flue, Grassington Moor from the air MYD4373 (c) YDNPA, 2023

The remains of a cupola lead smelt mill built by the Duke of Devonshire to serve the lead mines on Grassington Moor in 1792. At the height of production the smelt mill contained two coal-fired reverberatory (‘cupola’) furnaces, a roasting furnace and a slag hearth. The mill is associated with an elaborate flue (nearly 1600 metres long) with two condensers in its course, terminating in an 18 metres high chimney. The chimney was saved by the Earby Mines Research Group which undertook major repairs to it in 1966 and 1971. The extended flue was built in the 1850s in order to collect lead from the waste gases called ‘fume’ drawn off the furnaces. The lead condensed out on the sides of the flue and on brushwood loaded into the two condensers along its course. The flue was regularly scraped and washed out and the contents led into settling ponds lying just above the smelt mill.

Reconstruction of Cupola smelt mill Interior MYD4373 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Reconstruction of Cupola smelt mill interior MYD4373 (c) YDNPA, 2023


Take the Main Street in Grassington up the left hand side of the market place. At the cross roads by the Town Hall go straight ahead uo the hill on Moor Lane. After about 2km the tarmaced road ends at Yarnbury. There is limited parking. There is a large board showing the Grassington Lead Mining Trail. Go through the gate by the board. The Cupola smelt mill is Number 12 on the trail. Follow the main track (Duke's New Road), after 500m the track forks, take the main left fork and go over the ladder stile by the gate. After a further 700m just before a gate take a grassy right fork and cross the wall using the ladder stile. The smelt mill is in front of you.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Grassington. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.


Track is uneven and rough in places with some slopes. Ladder stiles and gates.