Ivelet Wood chop kiln MYD36604 (c) Robert White, 2004
This area of woodland on the steep valley side above the River Swale was once common land and managed as wood pasture. Local people known as commoners had the right to graze animals within the wood, collect fallen wood and possibly even cut wood in the form of pollards. In the 18th and 19th century wood was cut here was dried or burned to produce charcoal for use in the smelt mills of the nearby lead industry. The chop kilns or elling hearths where the wood was dried remain as bowl shaped depressions within the wood. Six of these kiln sites have been identified so far. Charcoal burning platforms are more numerous, nearly 40 have been recognized. The use of this relatively remote area for grazing has gradually declined over the last 100 years and the woodland has regenerated accordingly.
Gledhill, T (2004) ‘Woodland, Industry and Landscape: A history of woodland in Swaledale’ in White, R F & Wilson, P R (eds) (2004) Archaeology and Historic Landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No 2 pp61-67
Location From centre of Muker take road past Literary Institute, bear right at fork in road and take public footpath signed 'Gunnerside and Keld meadowland' past Post Office. 1/2 mile on, cross river using footbridge to reach woodland.
Public Transport Details Nearest town/village: Muker. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.
Accessibility Level, flagged footpath with several squeeze stiles and then steep steps at the footbridge.