DATE                                            05.04.11

DISTANCE                                  ABOUT 5 1/2 MILES

WEATHER                                  GREY WET AND VERY WINDY

START / FINISH                        CAR PARK ON THE BORDER

Grove rake mine Allenheads.

Watching Look north a few weeks ago, whilst eating my tea, I couldn’t help but notice on “the weather picture” section that there was a photo showing some old mine, this straight away caught my attention and for some strange reason I decided to
a) Find out a bit more about it
b) Plane a walk in or around this area.
So after spending a bit of time on Goggle all was reviled, it didn’t look like there was many footpaths to choose from so it was a make do and mend type of walk, I know from my other walks down this way, it isn’t the most easiest types of terrain for me to walk on, (wet boggy, heather, peat bogs ect did I mention wet and boggy?)
Once again Mr Mike Knipe of northern pies came to my rescue with lots of useful info about the mine including some very “top secret” places to look for some very posh looking stones which I am not going to share with you all.
So armed with all this local knowledge off I went.
The plane was to park up at the little car parking area right on the Northumberland / Durham border, (Shorngate cross) then have a small walk along the road till I joined an old farm / mine working track then stay on this passing the old ruined farm house at Rookhope head past frazers quarry and Hushes along to Grove rake mine then after a good mooch around stayed on this track to an old ruined farm house at Wolf Cleugh at this point crossed over the river? Burn Rookhope, then walked back towards the mine on the other side of the burn, after a bigger nose around. and some well-deserved food , I went to plane (b) and cut up onto the road for the walk back , the reason for this was the wet weather was getting worse and the wind was getting stupidly strong ,(did I tell you that I can’t walk in strong winds ) however all wasn’t lost because some very kind people had been sorting out some lovely “posh” rocks and left them piled up by the roadside , thinking this could cause some type of trip hazard I quickly picked them up and put them in my ruck sack . (Nearly putting my back out carrying them back in the process). Any way from here I just followed the road back to the car, not my preferred route but under the conditions the best that I could do. All in all about 6 miles (ish) possible a bit more with all the mooching around I did at the old mine.
My daughter is at the moment on her best behaviour thinking that she might get to inherit some more posh rocks when I snuff it, so it wasn’t a total wasted trip.

A bit of info about the mine I found on the net:-
Mining at Groverake started in the 18th Century. Originally a lead mine, Groverake then became a major fluorite producer as its lead production was not particularly successful. There were two main shafts at Grove rake. The Drawing Shaft was sunk to a depth of 91m and the Whimesy Shaft reached a total depth of 165m. The mine finally closed in 1999 as a result of the competitive pricing of Chinese producers. At the time of its final closure, Grove rake was the last commercial fluorspar mine operating in the North Pennines. Most of the underground workings at Grove rake are now flooded. However, many of the surface structures and plant still remain, including First Aid Rooms, stores, offices, locker rooms, shower rooms, washing facilities, stables, and accommodation. Access to one shaft via cage lift, and two drift mines also remain. Whilst nature is slowly taking over, the human presence of the men who worked at the mine is very apparent, giving Grove rake an eerie, ghostly atmosphere. It is this which gives the site its character and which 10 years after its closure, despite its dereliction, brings Grove rake to life.
The only thing that I wish to add to this is the place has been totally trashed but still is worth a mooch around.
Some photos:
Taken from the car showing the border sign

showing my route, note the dull low misty cloud which ruined any possible views.

Old ruined farmstead? (There seem to be a lot of these in this area)

Something to do with some old workings?

Old vent shaft (just a guess) the place is riddled with them, I did drop a big stone down there but didn’t hear anything.

Looks like the sun is trying to get out, now if only the wind would drop

One of the many nameless burns running off the hills

The mine

Not really sure what this is

getting closer

Still impressive

Entrance perhaps, I didn’t try to go down it as it looked a bit dark and scary

Looking back (did I mention how wet it was down here?)

Part of the old winch machinery. (One thing that I did note was all copper ECT had been stripped away)

Now continuing on my journey (looking back)

another old ruin (not sure if this is anything to do with the mine)

 More stuff, looking across the valley you can still see signs of all the old tipping

my route forward


Old ruined farmstead

Back view

have now crossed over the burn and heading back towards the mine.

Not really sure what this was it looks to good just to be a simple sheep field

Peering down one of the shafts

Back at the mine

Heading up away from the mine, it was at this point I decided to call it a day, the weather was closing in again and the wind was getting seriously strong

Typical view of the type of terrain from this area

And again


Not the return journey that I had planned but still a good walk on a windy day.