Warrenby

Wandering Warrenby Marshes with Graham Vasey.

Warrenby

Formerly in Kirkleatham, this is a collection of cottages attached to the ironworks. Now entirely obliterated is the medieval chapel of St. Sepulchre, and a burial ground. Gone too is the large 18th century grain warehouse. Over fisherman’s crossing is a road leading to Tod Point or South Gare, at the mouth of the Tees commenced in 1861

Cleveland An A-Z Guide by Alec Wright. Dalesman Books 1972

A Teesside First – Billingham Branch Bridge

Much is made, and quite rightly so, of the bridges of the Tees, however we have another historic bridge on Teesside that is often overlooked. The Billingham Branch Bridge was built in 1934 by Dorman Long to carry the northern approach road to the Newport Bridge over the now-disused Billingham Branch railway. The Grade II listed bridge is reputed to be the first welded steel bridge in Britain.

Historic Britain Listing

Slapewath

Lockdown walking

The terrier is quite old now, he is happy enough but his days of traipsing across moors have come to an end. The path between Slapewath and Boosbeck is ideal for him, it runs along the bed of an old railway built to service the local ironstone mines. The path is wide with no inclines, just right for a half blind, half deaf border terrier who likes to do things in his own time.

Slapewath is a strange place, at first glance it looks fairly rural but peer into the woods and along the tracks you’ll see scrap and storage yards, workshops and plant yards, most built over old ironstone mining sites. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at least half a dozen mines operated locally, extracting ore to feed the furnaces of Teesside.

Ironstone wasn’t the first extractive industry to leave its scars on this valley. Jet has been quarried from the escarpment edges for millennia, jet is only found in this corner of North Yorkshire and was highly prized by our prehistoric ancestors. Beautifully carved jet objects have been found in high-status prehistoric burials throughout our islands.

Another industry that left its mark on the local landscape was alum production. During the seventeenth century, thousands of tons of rock was quarried and processed to produce alum.

The pathway is very muddy in places, local footpaths have taken a hammering during lockdown. Beneath the footpath is a tunnel /culvert. It’s empty apart from some beer cans and a pair of knee-high ladies boots.

With the summer foliage gone, it is possible to get a better view of the remnants of Carr’s Tilery at Margrove.

Slape Wath – Slippery Ford’ from ON sleipr and vao

Aysdale Gate – Asi’s valley’ from ON Asi and dael

Black Path by Graham Vasey

Graham made the film during a recent walk that we took along the path. He filmed it using a 1930’s Ensign Auto Kinecam and expired Ilford FP4 Plus film which he processed himself.

The original soundtrack was created by Greg Marshall, the film was scanned by James Holcombe.

https://grahamvasey.wordpress.com/

https://vimeo.com/user10840987

Maggra

Walking from Boosbeck to Margrove Park, known locally as Maggra, the path follows the route of the old Guisborough to Brotton branch line. The line was opened in 1865 servicing the East Cleveland ironstone mining communities.

Hidden in the woods beside the path is one of the kilns from Carrs Tilery which operated from 1867 until 1879 and produced land drains, pipes and tiles for the Skelton Estate and the local ironstone mines.

Pipes produced in the the kiln can found in the undergrowth. The buttresses supporting the walls appear to be later additions.

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I’ve been unable to find out if there is any level of official protection on this building.

Remnants from the past and present

The ponds are now a nature reserve managed by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, beautiful orchids line the footpath.

This area was once home to a thriving mining community with an ironstone mine located at each end of the small valley. The few structures that remain of this industry and being allowed to decay, which is a shame when so little is left.

Boosbeck

Bosbek 1375 Barbour’s Bruce

‘Stream near the cowshed’ from OE bos(ig) and bekkr.

Margrove Park / Maggra Park

Magerbrigge 1230-50 Guis

Maugrepark 1407 YI Maugrey 1575 FF

v. pearroc. The form Maugre– possibly indicates that the first element is the OE pers. name Maepalgar; cf. Meagre

Sources

Hidden Teesside

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust

East Cleveland Image Archive

The Place Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire by A H Smith. 1928

Thanks to Chris Wynn

Chasing the Solstice Sun

On an overcast Solstice day, I go looking for one of Frank Elgees prehistoric settlement sites in the Commondale Beck valley

Limekilns are few and far between on the northern moorsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tall solitary pines are also a rarity.

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Sunlight briefly breaks through, a moment of joy

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The sound of the train fills the valley

The settlement site sits on a terrace overlooking the Commondale Beck. Elgee found other sites on located on the same terrace on both sides of the river.

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An old hollow way leads to one of the many rocky outcrops on the valley side, a quarry for field walls and butts.

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Clouds are moving rapidly westwards across the moors, I catch a glimpse of the sun.

An alignment of grouse butts runs across the moor, tops covered with fresh turfs.

The moor is sodden, there is a possible alignment of standing stones on the moor top

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I return to the road, blue skies can be seen through a break in the clouds above the Kildale Gap, I head west.

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On the edge of the escarpment I encounter the sun, I drink tea and bask in its warmth.

Gallery

In praise of Limestone

Remembering Stu Henson

Excavations at the Minning Low Chambered Cairn. Barry M Marsden. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 1982

Skinningrove to Saltburn

Anyone who is unfamiliar with the history of Skinningrove may be confused by the cliffs that tower over Cattersty beach. The horizontally bedded Jurassic cliffs of the coast have been replaced by what appears to be the remnants of ancient lava flows.

The origin of the cliffs are not Volcanic, I guess they could be called Vulcanic. There was once a large iron works on the clifftop, slag from the blast furnaces would be tipped, by trains, over the cliff edge completely covering the existing strata.  The blast furnaces have long gone, the cliffs are home to nesting fulmars and the occasional peregrine falcon.

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Vulcan – God of Fire, Volcanoes and Metalworkers

Skinningrove, a little creek formed by the Liverton Beck, has gained a weird picturesqueness by its ironworks on the verge of the cliff and its mountains of spoil from an iron mine. The Cleveland ironstone is used in conjunction with imported ironstone and if access can be obtained to the dressing-sheds – where the Cleveland ore is picked over by boys for the elimination of unprofitable stone – characteristic fossils, particularly the ammonite Amaltheus spinatus, can be obtained.

Geology of Yorkshire. PF Kendall & HE Wroot. 1924

Warsett trainThe train from Boulby potash mine skirts the edge of Warsett Hill passing the fan house that used to ventilate the ironstone mine.  Mining has existed in North Yorkshire for almost a thousand years, steel tracks for railways are still made at Skinningrove.

FlowersTragically, two young local men were recently found dead at the foot of the cliffs at Saltburn.