I recently found a bag of photographs that I thought were lost. Amongst the photographs were a few that I took in 2003 after a devastating fire swept across Fylingdales Moor. The fire burned off the peat deposits along with dense heather and bracken cover and in the process gave us a brief look at the prehistoric landscape that potentially exists beneath many of our moorlands.
The fire revealed a wealth of archaeology on the moor ranging from prehistory to the Second World War. If you are interested in finding out more I’d recommend seeking out Local Archaeologist Blaise Vyner’s excellent booklet, Fylingdales Wildfire and Archaeology. 2007. Published by North Yorkshire National Park.
I took a walk over to Skelton to have a look at the remains of the Longacres Ironstone Mine located on the edge of the Hollybush Industrial Estate. I followed the waterlogged track over the fields towards the retail park.
Most of the field is covered in small trees and brambles. There’s a large earth bank running across the field, the result of the levelling of the site to build the retail park. The occassional chunk of concrete pokes through the undergrowth but on the whole nature is doing a decent job of reclaiming the site. A small pond containing bulrushes has formed at the foot of the bank.
Between Asda and Aldi a track leads up the bank into a small wood.
The arched concrete roof of the mine’s explosive store is just visible from the bank top. The building is buried into the bank, with no obvious access from above I followed the path down into the wood.
A pair of large gateposts marking , the entrance to a tiny litter-strewn concrete-walled dell, day-glow pink graffiti marks the territory of the ‘Skelton Possy‘.
The overhanging foliage has been cut-back to allow access, tall curving concrete walls lead to a blockhouse, The bank and walls deaden the sounds of the nearby retail park. It has the air of a strange brutalist hermitage.
On the top field, the mine buildings have been cleared, the area is now used as a rough cycle track and hangout for local kids. The path at the bottom end of the field follows the embankment of the old railway branch line.
In an adjacent field the mine shaft is capped with an oval stone and brick wall, there are remains of campfires around its base. A nearby former engine bed provides a viewing platform.
The mine operated from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. More information can be found here