Grinton smelt mill

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Grinton Smelt Mill MYD4538 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Grinton Smelt Mill MYD4538 (c) YDNPA, 2023

The smelt mill was integral to the process of mining lead in the Yorkshire Dales. Transporting the heavy lead ore a long distance was usually uneconomic, so many mining companies built smelt mills close to their mines. Here at Grinton, the first smelt mill was built in the early 1700s. Between 1820-22 it was rebuilt and the flue was extended up onto Sharrow Hill. Longer flues allowed lead to be reclaimed from the waste gases given off from the furnaces. Smelting here ceased in December 1895.

Unlike other lead smelt mills in the Yorkshire Dales, this building retains its roof and some of the wooden fittings inside. It survives because it was used as a sheep dip in the twentieth century. A six metre diameter waterwheel beside the north wall of the bellows room was fed by an overhead wooden trough or ‘launder’. The wheel powered a large set of bellows which blew air to the back of the three furnaces. The wheel has been scrapped, but the bellows frame and part of the launder survive.

The furnace room had two ore hearths and one slag hearth, all set into arched alcoves. The slag hearth part has been altered, and its original layout is unclear. The flue above the three hearths ran to a now demolished chimney on Sharrow Hill. Peat cut from the moors was burned in the hearths and the open-sided peat store can be seen beyond the mill.

We have placed two interpretation panels inside the building with reconstruction drawings of the mill in its final phase of use.

Grinton smelt mill MYD4538 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Grinton smelt mill MYD4538 (c) YDNPA, 2023


From Grinton on the B6270 take the minor road south signposted Leyburn. After about .0.7km ignore the left turn. After about 1.150m , some 150 m after crossing a narrow bridge on a sharp bend there is a broad metalled track on the right with limited road side parking (It probably is signposted "Bridle Way Only, No vehicles). Walk about 450m along this track and you come to Grinton peat Store. The Mill is on your right, closer to the stream.

Public Transport Details

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


There is a gate on the bridle way to prevent vehicles using it but there is no obstruction for walkers. The track is quite stony.