Force Crag Mine

As you walk the gently rising mine track from just outside Braithwaite village, it is hard to believe that this beautiful area of the Lake District fells was once the backdrop to a mining industry. Hugging the side of the fell with the winding beck below, you are lead to the head of the Coledale valley and the sheer dark face of Force Crag.

Update for 2021

Force Crag Mine is currently closed to visitors. Unfortunately we are unable to run open days in 2021. Please check back for updates and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Intrepid workers

For over 200 years men have worked in this isolated spot digging for lead in the early years and then later barites and zinc.

During the Second World War, tons of barites were extracted for making munitions. Trucks transported materials from the mine levels high above Force Crag down the fell side along a narrow track beside a precipitous drop.

The operation was very risky particularly during icy winters; as a result an aerial ropeway was built, but this also failed in freezing conditions.

Harsh conditions

The working environment was harsh at Force Crag, huge amounts of water flow through the mine most of the time. In 1990 a collapse occurred at zero level. Water and debris built up behind the collapse which could not be removed causing the mine to finally close.

Unique machinery collection protected thanks to volunteers

During 2016 and 2017, Force Crag Mine was the focus of a very special project to protect and care for its nationally important collection of mining machinery.

The project was led by Tim Martin of Context Engineering, one of the UK's leading machinery conservation consultants, and carried out with the help of the most amazing group of passionate volunteers.

Watch the film to find out what was involved: