The City of

Historic Buildings

Visitor Attractions
Villages and

Prehistoric Sites

Map & satellite

Alderley Edge Mines

OS Grid ref:-SJ860779

Alderley Edge escarpment has been a site of copper mining for many centuries. The mines consist of an extensive series of workings with a number of entrances. There is evidence to suggest that mining first took place there in the Bronze Age and in Roman times.

In 1874 William Boyd Dawkins discovered numerous grooved hammer stones, reported to be from the Bronze Age, at Brynlow Levels. A wooden shovel was found in the bottom of old workings, in 1878 by the Rev. Sainter. In 1993 the wooden shovel was rediscovered by the local novelist Alan Garner, writer of 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen', the shovel was later carbon-dated to around 1780 BC. The shovel is now housed at the Manchester Museum.

Subsequently, the Alderley Edge Landscape Project was set up and excavation around Engine Vein revealed what are believed to be Bronze Age smelting hearths dating to around 2000 BC.

A fourth century Roman coin hoard was found in an abandoned shaft at the Engine Vein mine in 1995. An archaeological excavation was undertaken and timbers were revealed which were carbon-dated to the last century BC.

Written records reveal that mining continued from the 1690s up to the 1920s.

Many of the mines are now owned by the National Trust and have been leased by them to the Derbyshire Caving Club. The mines are accessible to the public twice a year during events organised by the Derbyshire Caving Club. For more information see their website.

Back to Prehistoric Sites