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Site record MDR9541 - Peak Forest Tramway

Type and Period (1)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

By the C18th it was evident that northern and central Derbyshire contained a wealth of minerals for the rapidly growing industries of the time to exploit, but the terrain and the porus nature of the limestone made it very difficult to construct canals to transport those resources to the expanding industries. The solution arrived at for the problem was constuction of tramways to transport the minerals from the hilly and limestone areas of north Derbyshire to areas in which it was practical and economic to build canals. This entailed construction a set of railway lines along which wagons full of minerals would be pulled by horses. In places where the slope was particulary steep a more gradual slope, or incline, would be engineered in order to reduce the gradent along which the wagons would have to be hauled. The wagons used in thes tramways were often poorly built and the brakes were crude and unreliable. Some of the difficulties encountered in the oringinal tramways were partly overcome with the use of stationary steam engines to pull the wagons up the steeper inclines. The Peak Forest Tramway, which opened in 1799, was the first of these tramways to be opened. It was designed to facilitate the transport of minerals from the north Derbyshire to the industrial areas of north-west Chester and south-west Lancashire. Two groups of stone sleeper blocks were identified. The first set of four have impressions of saddles and two holes, the third one appears to be under mud at the edge of the track. The hole that is off-line is toward the opposite direction to the stone sleeper blocks recorded under SMR 3601, suggesting that the position of the sleeper block/saddle was not important to orientation as long as the track could run the correct way. The second set of six blocks are exposed. Further along from the two sets of blocks, alongside the sewage works, are a high number of blocks with both rows exposed; they display saddle impressions and three holes perpendicular to the direction of the track. NGR: SK 04779 81970 - SK 04902 81788. (1)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Archive: Jessop, O. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey. ARCUS 738b. Feature no. 17.
  • <2> Photograph: ARCUS. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey, Project 738b. Digital photograph. pp 33-38.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Lamb, B. 1968. 'The canal, Bugsworth complex and tramway: a discourse in maps', The Peak Forest Canal and Tramway.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Findlow, A (Inland Waterways Preservation Society). 2001. An Assessment of the Archaeological and Historical Significance of Bugsworth Basin.
  • <5> *Internet Web Site: Whitehead, P. 2002. The Peak Forest Tramway, High Peak Derbyshire (including a walking guide to the Limestone Way). http//
  • <6> Article in serial: Baxter, B. 1949. 'Early railways in Derbyshire', Engineering. Vol. 167, pp 573-576. p 575.



Grid reference Centred SK 04831 81860 (214m by 254m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1790

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

May 7 2020 4:45PM

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