Old Gang smelt mill MYD2458 (c) YDNPA, 2023
East of Gunnerside Gill lie the Old Gang lead mines . Here, the most obvious remains are the smelt mill and peat store which were built early in the nineteenth century when the mines were operating on a large scale.
The huge peat store is a remarkable building. It was reputed to hold 3 year’s worth of fuel. It is around 119 metres long and 6.4 metres wide separated into 3 bays by two internal stone partition walls. It has stone gables and side walls formed from 36 individual stone piers. A heather-thatched roof was supported on timber trusses. Peat stores were open-sided to allow the blocks of peat to dry thoroughly before they were used as fuel in the smelt mill furnaces. A trackway leads down to the peat store from the hillside where the peat was cut. A second trackway leads from the peat store to the smelt mill.
The Old Gang complex also contains the remains of another older smelt mill and a large dressing floor along with levels, hushes, shallow shafts and a massive spoil heap over 500 metres long.
View of Old Gang peat store (c) YDNPA, 2023
Location • From Feetham on the B6270 take the minor road north signposted Langthwaite, (in Arkengarthdale). After about 1.6km ignore the right turn. This is followed shortly by a bend, a cattle grid and a bridge. About 30 metres past this there is broad metalled track on the left signposted "Bridle Way Only, No vehicles". There is limited roadside parking.
Walk about 1.6km along this track and the smelt mill is to the right of the track.
Public Transport Details Nearest village: Gunnerside. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.
Accessibility 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.