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Site record MDR9592 - Peak Forest Tramway, High Peak and Peak Forest

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Early 20th Century - 1795 AD to 1920 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Peak Forest Tramway was built to connect limestone quarries at Dove Holes with the Peak Forest Canal Basin at Buxworth. The tramway was double track with L-angle rails laid on stone sleepers. The line was pitched at a constant gradient, enabling loaded wagons to travel down by gravity. Horses were used to return the empty wagons, which were similar to Tyne Chaldrons. The tramway had a self-acting incline at Town Bend, Chapel-en-le-Frith. At Stodhart tunnel the line was single track, with cut and cover bore under the gardens of a house in Chapel-en-le Frith (owned by Ferodo Ltd in 1965). The southern portal of the tunnel is now filled in. There were several bridges, limekilns etc at Buxworth and branches to several quarries. Remains at Dove Holes have mostly been disturbed by quarrying. The tramway was used until WWI, and the track was lifted in the early 1920s. The original tramway, laid in 1795, was of 36" cast-iron plates of 56 pound per yard of weight; in 1803 the tramway was doubled except for the tunnels and some plates. In 1865 the whole tramway was relaid with 9" steel plate-rails rolled at the GCR Foundry at Gorton, Manchester. Some of the original 36" rail was used on the sidings and branches. All dismantled and sold for scrap in 1928. (1) A Conservation Management Plan has been prepared for the route of the Peak Forest Tramway. The tramway, extending from a complex of limestone quarries at Dove Holes Dale to the terminal basin of the Peak Forest Canal at Bugsworth, west of Chinley, was opened in 1796. It is an important early example of a form of horse-drawn railed-way built according to the model specified by Benjamin Outram, widely copied elsewhere in England and Wales. Part of the route near Bugsworth canal basin is a Scheduled Monument, while surviving warehouses at Chapel en le Frith are under consideration for inclusion in a Conservation Area. The Management Plan forms the final stage of a three stage programme to examine in greater detail the surviving features of the tramway, assess their historical significance and vulnerability and propose a series of management policies for their conservation and interpretation. (2, 3) At SK 050816 the Tramway is interrupted by the construction of the Chapel bypass, the section between here and the railway viaducts being burried under the enbankment. A realigned tarmac section was built for Ferodo and used for brake testing. (4) 'At termination of canal at Bugsworth, east then south east to Peak Forest Limeworks, 7m, opened 1796. Track, 4ft 2 in guage. Engine, outram. Owner, Peak Forest Canal Co., later MS & L Railway Co. (1883), Great Central Railway in 1897. Traffic, limestone. Abandoned 1920-1921.' (5)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Plate Rail I-VII, includes illustrations, 1965.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Duckworth, S, Jessop, O and A Badcock (ARCUS). 2006. Conservation Management Plan, Peak Forest Tramway, Derbyshire.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2004. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazetteer of Sites, Part I, Borough of High Peak (second edition). pp. 15.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Baxter, B. 1966. Stone Blocks and Iron Rails.



Grid reference Centred SK 05151 79898 (6364m by 4593m) (4 map features)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR1790
  • EDR4768
  • EDR4410

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 29 2023 3:23PM

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