Cononley Lead Mine is a grade II listed site located just outside the village of Cononley in West Yorkshire. It is not known exactly when lead mining began in the area. There is reference to lead in the region as early as 1538-9 and further references to mining from the 1600s-1700s. The current building remains date from the early 1840s, when production at the site increased rapidly¹. Cononley Lead Mine is easily accessible and makes a good location for sunrise or sunset, as well as general industrial and landscape photography.
I was initially struck by the landscape around the mine. An undulating, sandy-coloured gravel escarpment leads steeply down the hill on one side. It really creates an industrial feel and contrasted well with the blue sky on my visit.
Facing the other direction however, the site looks lush and green. Two very different scenes from one location!
After an initial walk around, I decided to have a closer look at the old engine house and chimney. A ruined window created a frame to admire the chimney:
You can also go inside the engine house. It is overgrown and dilapidated, but interestingly stark.
Climbing up onto the gravel mounds, you get a good view down onto the site. This was a good spot for sunset as well.
There was a lot of wildlife in the surrounding fields. I saw plenty of rabbits, oystercatchers and curlews. I was also treated to a barn owl hunting. The sun had set at this point, so the quality of this photo is terrible, but here is a barn owl that has just caught something!
I really enjoyed my visit to Cononley Lead Mine and recommend it as a very interesting photography location. Here are a few more photos from my visit:
|Approximate post code (for sat nav)||BD20 8EB|
|Parking||You can park by the side of the road on a grass kerb (pictured here on the right), just next to the minor road that leads to the site. Make sure you are not blocking the gate.
|Directions||From the parking spot, follow the minor road towards the mine (across the cattle grid). The mine is ahead of you on the left. Access to the site is through a gate just past the old smithy building. There is a worn information board by the gate explaining the site.
This is the location of Cononley Lead Mine:
Notes for next time
- Try sunrise
- Bring a long lens for wildlife
- A snowy/frosty morning/evening might work well
¹ Gill, M. C. (1987) The Yorkshire and Lancashire Lead Mines. A Study of Lead Mining in the Southern Craven and Rossendale Districts, Northern Mine Research Society, https://www.nmrs.org.uk/assets/lookinside/bm33lookinside.pdf [accessed 07 December 2017]