Posted by: lensweb | July 21, 2020

Good Luck Mine

The Via Gellia, is a dry valley of the Peak District limestone karst area. The steep valley was formed by a river which now drains underground through caves. Layers of basalt, cooled volcanic lava, cover the limestone. The basalt is impermeable, so groundwater is not able to flow into the limestone except where the valley cut through the basalt or where the Derbyshire lead miners dug shafts through. The road was built through in 1790.

I met with Margaret Beresford who, you may remember, was a former Secretary of the Long Eaton Natural History Society. After refreshment at the Woodside Café we crossed a small wooden bridge and started the slippery uphill climb to the mine. Small teasel is a plant we don’t often see and we recognised the delicate fronds of lady fern decorating the ash-elm- hazel woodland flora, with wood sedge and the king of the woods, yellow pimpernel. The numerous helleborines were not quite in flower. At the top there was a good view over the Via Gellia when we burst out into the sunshine at Good Luck Mine.

Goodluck Mine is a 19th century lead mine dug down to the lead-bearing veins of the limestone. The mineralisation within the veins is mainly lead-ore (galena), but also barytes, calcite, and some fluorspar. The mine was closed in 1952 but was reopened in 1970 by a dedicated group of volunteers.

At Good Luck Mine, narrow gauge rails lead from the closed black doors of the mine entrance to a spoil heap (now registered as a SSSI due to the wild flowers) and a little powder house which faces out over the gorge. Common spotted orchids were flowering with Hairy St John’s Wort, Marjoram, Thyme and Rock-rose which are typical of limestone. Leadwort Minuartia verna, is a small white flowered plant often found on lead spoil heaps. Heath speedwell , Wood Sage and Common Figwort are more usually found on light acid soils. What a mixture!

The weather broke so we sheltered from the rain in a primitive coe (miners shelter). Perhaps one day soon we will go on an underground tour of the mine, by arrangement with the Good Luck Mine Preservation Society?

Marion Bryce 21 July 2020


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