Nidderdale Iron is a community archaeology project investigating historic iron smelting and smithing in and around the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Nidderdale AONB) in North Yorkshire. Investigations are in progress at several locations where there is documentary or landscape evidence of iron extraction, smelting or smithing and the origins of these sites range from the Iron Age to the early 17th Century when the local iron smelting industry seems to have come to an end (further information).
In Nidderdale itself a picture is emerging of an industry that occupied many sites but that is now largely forgotten. This is partly due to the fact that local iron extraction and smelting came to an end four hundred years ago but also because the lead industry in the area has a higher profile. Of ancient origins, lead working continued to function into the early years of the 20th Century and was an important employer and investment opportunity. There is still a tendency in some quarters to regard any sign of metal extraction or smelting in Nidderdale as a remnant of the lead industry.
A four year programme of HLF funded fieldwork, research and data recording took place between 2008 and 2012 and the work continues although it is now self-sustaining and is not in need of external funding. New sites are investigated as they are discovered or reported to us and we continue to develop our knowledge of features at Dacre which is the location of our principal site.
We are able to provide lectures or displays on the subject of Nidderdale's historic iron industry for Community Groups, special interest groups and public events.
Membership of the group is open to all adults and there are many activities, especially excavating, data recording and research. Contact us if you wish to join or would like more information or come along to one of the presentations shown in the Events Diary.