In 1870 the lead mine at Killhope was one of the richest and most prosperous in Britain, a hundred years later the site lay derelict, overgrown, robbed of stone, equipment and machinery, with only the massive waterwheel standing defiant as a proud monument to a vanished industry.
The mineshop was the first building to be restored. In 1984 the mineshop was formally opened to the public. Here you can learn how the miners lived throughout the week. You can try on Victorian style clothes and clogs and play Victorian games. You can also visit the mine manager's office, the smithy and the stable. The stable is also where you meet your guide for your mine trip.
At the start of renovation the washing floor was a marshy field. This was the first lead mining washing floor in the UK to be fully excavated by professional archaeologists. Today this area is at the heart of Killhope’s interpretation and it is where you can experience for yourselves the work of a washer boy. The slimepits and Brunton buddles were used to separate the finest parts of lead ore. The buddles are run daily, just ask at reception for timings.
Park Level Mill
All the machinery had been removed from the jigger house, part of Park Level Mill, but there was enough archaeological evidence to allow the design and creation of replica equipment This has enabled us to bring the building to life again. The waterwheel was fully restored in 1991
Reservoir and Woodland Walks
In the lead industry water was an important resource. Above ground there was often not enough water; below ground there was often too much. The walks take you around the water courses which would have fed all the wheels and washing floor at Killhope. It was then channelled down the valley to feed other waterwheels and mines.