Magpie Mine Management Plan
One of the principal aims of the Peak District Mines Historical Society is to record and preserve the physical evidence of mining both in the Peak District and further afield.
Historic mining sites can be lost as a consequence of large scale modern mining and quarrying operations, or through restoration and landscaping programmes. Nature will gradually reclaim derelict sites, whilst the weather can wreak havoc on old buildings that are not regularly maintained.
In 2013, the Society commissioned a study of the Magpie Mine site with a view to producing a Management Plan. The study was funded by Natural England, and carried out by Messrs Weston Allison Wright. The study included:
a) a topographical survey of the site;
b) measured surveys of the extant buildings;
c) condition surveys of the buildings and other built structures;
d) a review of the archaeological evidence, both on the ground and in the written records;
e) ecological surveys of the flora and fauna to be found on the site.
It is likely that this was the first time that such a comprehensive survey of the site has ever been carried out.
The condition survey noted that the ruined and roofless buildings have deteriorated, mainly due to their exposure to the weather, but generally no more than would be expected in such an exposed location. However, it identified two structures, the so-called "Miners' Dry" at the side of the Cornish engine House and the Square Chimney, both of which require urgent remedial work.
Given the high cost of repairs to the buildings, the Society has opted to seek funding for the most urgent work, that of repairing the Square Chimney and the associated ground level flue. A grant of £74,000 was obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which together with a further monetary contribution from the Society and volunteer effort from its members, has enabled remedial work to start in July 2016.
The ecological survey identified much of the site as Calaminarian Grassland, where the presence of toxic metal ions and the lack of ploughing or artificial fertilisers gives rise to an unusual community of wild flowers. Such grasslands are becoming increasingly rare in the UK and throughout Europe, thus making the Magpie Mine site all the more important. The Management Plan recommended changes to the grazing regime, (bringing the cattle onto the site earlier in the season,) and this has already resulted in an improvement to the grass sward without detriment to the wild flower community.
Copies of the Management Plan are available to Society members: to inquire please Email the Cottage Warden