Not just any old iron

Published on: 10 Apr 2014

History seekers are poised for exciting new action after a string of successful Lake District discoveries.

With the last study set to be unveiled this month, Reflections on History, one of Windermere Reflections' 19 projects, is putting the spotlight on iron production sites in the Windermere area.

An introduction day and guided walk is planned for 26 April at Wray Castle. The public is invited to turn up and get involved in an initiative that has already unearthed hundreds of important new sites.

Archaeology and heritage adviser to the Lake District National Park, Eleanor Kingston, said after significant gains, the latest and final programme promised some fascinating experiences.

She explained: "We have worked on the themes of wood, water and minerals because we wanted to show how the area's natural resources have been exploited by humans in the past.

"We are now offering excavation for the first time as we survey four iron smelting sites dating from the medieval period, 1066 to 1540.

"Evidence of forgotten industries such as charcoal burning, bark peeling and potash burning have been recorded, fulling mill sites for the woollen industry explored, mining and quarrying investigated.

"So far we have recorded a total of 465 sites, with over 50 volunteers. In our study of iron production, we are expecting the same levels of interest and hopefully just as much success."

Eleanor said it was a rare opportunity for interested amateurs to work alongside professional archaeologists and learn surveying and investigation techniques. All findings are recorded in the Lake District Historic Environment Record.

The introductory day will run from 11 am to 4pm and booking is through Eleanor on 01539 792712, email

Windermere Reflections is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, it looks to improve water quality and bring environmental and economic gain to Windermere's water catchment and its communities. The catchment covers waters feeding into Lake Windermere, including Stickle Tarn, Easdale Tarn, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Elter Water and Esthwaite Water.

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