A 19th-century mill in the Yorkshire Dales was saved by new flood defences just hours before Storm Ciara hit

Grinton Smelt Mill
Grinton Smelt Mill
Have your say

A fascinating remnant of the Dales lead mining industry was saved from flooding in the nick of time.

Emergency flood defences to protect Grinton Smelt Mill in Swaledale were completed just hours before Storm Ciara hit last weekend.

Grinton is the best-preserved of the remaining buildings associated with lead mining in the Dales, and it has been a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1975.

More than £50,000 given to victims of July 2019 flash flooding in the Dales
The Grade-II listed smelting site on Cogden Moor was built in around 1820 to process the lead extracted nearby.

The mill suffered badly after localised flash flooding hit Swaledale last July and a listed stone-arch culvert was washed away by the raging waters. The damage was so severe that Historic England considered adding it to their Heritage At Risk register.

Inspections revealed that another serious flood would undermine the building's foundations and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority commenced a programme of stabilisation and defence work.

Photos show damage to Grinton Bridge - which was on the Tour de France 2014 route - after it was washed away by flash floods
'Rock armour' to protect vulnerable parts of the mill was installed by contractor Peter Iveson, of Hawes, and workers only finished the project on Saturday - just hours before Storm Ciara arrived.

The National Park's champion for cultural heritage Julie Martin said: “The speedy response to last summer’s devastating floods by our historic environment team, in partnership with the Grinton Estate and Historic England, saved Grinton Smelt Mill from damage during Storm Ciara.

“The mill is a Scheduled Monument and is a key site for the interpretation of lead mining heritage in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. What a relief that the emergency works were designed, commissioned, funded and carried out in such a short space of time.”

The mill site is served by public footpaths and visitors can explore the ruins, which include a peat store, flue and two hearths.