There are numerous old lead mine ruins around Greenhow near Pateley Bridge.  One of the most interesting locations is the site of the Prosperous Lead Smelting Mill by Ashfold Side Beck and it’s well worth a hike out there at any time of year, but toward the end of the summer months can be best when the heather is in bloom.

Ruin of Prosperous Smelt Mill by Ashfold Side Beck
Ruin of Prosperous Smelt Mill by Ashfold Side Beck

The site can be reached from Greenhow or from Pateley Bridge (the route that I took on this occasion) following the valley of Ashfold Side Beck up through the caravan parks and out onto open moorland before the path (which is the Nidderdale Way at this point) drops down to a footbridge over the beck and the ruins of the mill can be found immediately across the bridge on the south side of the beck.  A nice sunny day is great at this location, but the main ruin is tucked away in the shade by the beck so lighting can be a bit tricky here and overcast conditions would work too (especially with the vibrant heather).

Ruined Beehive Condenser at Prosperous Mine
Ruined Beehive Condenser at Prosperous Mine

On my visit I spotted a structure up above the ruins on the horizon which looked a bit like a shooting shelter from a distance but on closer inspection I could see the remains of a flue from the smelt mill running up the hill towards it – a bit of googling later revealed it to be the ruins of a “beehive condenser” (where lead fumes were collected).  It’s a lovely tranquil spot on a summer’s day and it seems strange that it was once the site of this industrial process.

Heather along the Nidderdale Way
Heather along the Nidderdale Way

The Nidderdale Way winds further up the hill and along to some other old mine workings close by – Providence Mine, where the remains of the engine house can be seen.

Ruins of Providence Mine
Ruins of Providence Mine

From here you can make a loop walk back to Pateley Bridge  following the Nidderdale Way to Hillend and back down towards Bewerley – or if you started from Greenhow you can visit Coldstone Cut on the way back.

[Note that the marker on the Google map is to the north of Ashfold Side Beck, but the ruins are just to the south of the beck]

The OS map for the location is Explorer Map 298 Nidderdale and the smelt mill ruins are roughly at grid reference SE119661.