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Bell Pits at Blayshaw

Part of line of bell pits is visible in this photograph. They extend from the centre foreground to the edge of the hill in the centre of the picture and there are many more in the surrounding area. These pits are shown extending from just below the centre towards the top right corner in the left hand aerial photograph below.


They are also just visible in the right hand aerial photo (below) towards the top left corner but there are many that are more clearly visible on the moor to the south between Blayshaw and Ramsgill and especially on Ramsgill Bents. These are yet to be fully investigated and it is possible that they were for coal rather than iron.


Bell pits are so named because of the shape of the cross section of the pit. A small hole at the top opens out as it descends to cover the widest safe working area of the iron bearing shale bed that may be 10 metres below. Another pit is excavated beside it and so on to recover the maximum amount of ore, the spoil from one being used to fill its predecessor.


After many years the fill has slumped in those in the picture and the resulting hollows in the ground betray the previous existence of the pits.

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