This is the location of our principal fieldwork site where a detailed study is providing evidence of iron extraction, smelting and smithing from the Iron Age to the early 17th century.including Cistercian iron making during medieval Dacre's time as a grange of Fountains Abbey. A "Smelt House" was still in existence in 1611.
A country village with a number of recent successes in the Britain in Bloom competition Darley was a part of the Ancient Forest of Knaresborough. The River Nidd and Darley Beck are near and there is abundant evidence of water powered industry including Darley Mill with its water wheel and mill pond. Iron extraction and smelting were also local activities four centuries ago.
This Cistercian bloomery has been investigated in collaboration with the Studfold Community Nature Group. There is evidence of bloomery hearths, slag, bell pits and water management features.
The Augustinian Canons of Bridlington Priory were granted rights to make iron in Blubberhouses in the 12th century and there is clear evidence in today's landscape of ore extraction and smelting.
It is well known that Kirkby Overblow is "The Church Town of the Ore Blowers" and there are records confirming that it was a centre of medieval iron smelting, there is, however little recorded archaeological evidence apart from some slag finds. Iron-Age (Nidderdale) is working at the invitation of the local history group to identify any existing features.
Spofforth was the main centre for the powerful Percy family in medieval times and it is recorded that iron was made there in the 13th century. Little else is known but recent discoveries by a local resident give some indications of possible sites.
This little dale near Masham is included in the project because of medieval documentary evidence that seems to indicate iron extraction by Jervaulx Abbey. No archaeological evidence is known although there is abundant evidence of later coal mining.
A recent discovery by the Nidderdale Chase Community Heritage Group. The initial sighting was a grass covered slag heap but other evidence is emerging of iron extraction and smelting.
It is known that a slag heap was remove while improving a field adjacent to the wood and some pieces of slag remain but in addition a grass covered heap has been discovered within the wood and ironstone nodules are to be seen in the stream bank nearby.
A large slag heap is clearly visible on this moorland site and the remains of several bloomery furnaces are to be seen nearby.
Slag heaps, water management features and an adit close to the Nidderdale way between Ramsgill and Lofthouse.