From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Lathkill Dale

53°11'30.4"N 1°41'53.4"W
SK 2026466119

  • History
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Lathkill Dale is a valley carved by the river Lathkill, located between Monyash and Haddon Hall, Derbyshire.

The river rises just below Monyash and flows down to meet the river Wye just below Haddon Hall. The upper part of the dale is a National Nature Reserve, in the care of English Nature. The top part of the dale is quite narrow in places as it was part-filled with spoil from Ricklow Quarry, just on the north side. The quarry was worked for a stone called Derbyshire marble and is now abandoned, nature is reclaiming the quarry and it has been colonised by Jacob's Ladder, a rare plant which flowers in June and July.

Below Lathkill House Cave the valley widens out into a deep valley with steep, rocky sides. It is joined from the south by Cales Dale, a footbridge spans the stream and there are the remains of an old sheepwash which was used up until the 1940s.

Below Cales Dale the sides of the Lathkill are partly wooded, known as Low Wood. At the first of many weirs a mill was located nearby. Low Wood merges into Meadow Wood and in places the river is dammed to form ponds for fish.

The next section of the dale to Over Haddon was once home to several very profitable lead mines, including Mandale Mine. This mine was worked from the 13th century until it closed in 1851, due to flooding. Sections of the workings may still be seen, especially the aqueduct which carried water to a large water wheel which was once used to pump water from the mine.

The mines have lowered the water table, in a drought the river can run dry. The water resurges from the Bubble Springs just below Over Haddon and from the nearby exits to the soughs or drainage tunnels from the mines.

The Conksbury bridge dates to the mediaeval age. Numerous fish-ponds are located around here. The river then goes on to meet the river Bradford at Alport and then continues to the Wye.