Ecton Mine Educational Centre

Ecton Copper Mine

Useful Information

Location: Between Warslow and Hartington.
Southwest corner of the Peak District National Park in the valley of the River Manifold.
(53.121702, -1.856208)
Open: For school classes after appointment.
Classification: MineCopper Mine MineLead Mine ExplainOldest Mines
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: full day educational courses.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: J. Barnatt (2013): Delving Ever Deeper: The Ecton Mines through Time ISBN 978-0-901428-26-4, Bakewell, Peak District National Park, 382pp, 64 line illustrations, 96 plates.
Address: GA Cox Study Centre, The Hillocks, Ecton, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AH, Tel: +44-1298-84522.
Mrs Anita Horton, Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, The Boilerhouse, Springfield Business Park, Caunt Road, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG31 7FZ, Tel: +44-1476-513886. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


4000 BP first copper mining.
18th century deepest mine in Britain.
1850s end of mining below river level, mine flooded.
1891 mine closed.
~1980 used as an educational resource by the mining engineer Geoff Cox, who also owned the mineral rights.
1999 designated a site of special scientific Interest (SSSI).
2001 educational site closed by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
08-MAR-2004 listed a Scheduled Monument by National Heritage.
2007 reopened by the Ecton Mine Educational Trust (EMET).


The mines on Ecton Hill, Staffordshire, are unusual for the Peak District, because they contained mostly copper ore, and not lead and zinc like the others. Lower Carboniferous limestones have been subjected to folding and faulting during the Hercynian and Alpine orogenies. The local intense copper–lead–zinc mineralization is a result of hydrothermal activities.


The historic mining area Ecton is a Scheduled Monument and a valuable educational resource for the Ecton Mine Educational Trust. The trust is promoting education in applied geology, mining and mineral extraction. The copper and lead deposits on Ecton Hill were worked for over 3500 years, from the Bronze Age to 1891. The total ore production is estimated at over 100,000 tonnes. The whole area is a site of special scientific Interest (SSSI), and the Ecton mine itself is an underground SSSI.

The mining started with copper mining during the Bronze Age. During the Middle Ages lead was mined for some time, but later the copper was more profitable and during the heydays of the mine in the 18th century mostly copper was mined. One of the most important steps for mining was the de-watering of the deposits in the 1720s-30s by a company of "adventurers". It was what we would call risk capital. They built the Deep Ecton Level from next to the River Manifold into the deposit, which was used as an adit to allow the groundwater to flow out of the mine by gravitation. The made pumping unnecessary and thus the mine profitable.

The mine is not operated as a show mine, it is an educational institution which offers one-day or two-day field courses. Together with the Ecton Hill Field Studies Association (EHFSA), they offer courses at school and university levels. They are generally held by experienced, qualified volunteers. Intended mainly for school pupils and students, they also offer sometimes courses for adults. During such a course the underground mine is visited, depending on the topic of the course, of course. Courses and mine visits are tailored to the needs of the respective topic.