There are many sights to see places to stay in Castleton, owing to the incredible natural and human history of the region.

When many people think of Castleton, they think of Peverel’s castle, one of the oldest surviving castles in the country, as well as the four local caverns that are to this day, used to mine Blue John.

However, a less-spectacular looking cave and gorge on the surface next to Treak Cliff Cavern may have had even more historical significance, as it may have been one of the earliest lead mines in England and allowed the Romans to build their infrastructure.

The Odin Mine was first mentioned in 1280 when a man, John of Bellhag, was put on trial for hunting in the nearby Bactor Wood. However, there is a strong belief that the mine was used by the Romans, as they mined lead ore whilst in Britain and needed it for their pipes and aqueducts.

It was also believed to have been used by the Saxons when they took over Britain and later by the Vikings, one of the gods of the latter providing the name of the mine itself.

How much it was worked on from 1280 until its next mention in official documents in 1663 is uncertain, but by the early 18th century it was being used again due to the ownership stake of Richard Bagshawe, future High Sheriff of Derbyshire.

He believed that the mine, which was two metres wide and spanned ten metres underground, still had a lot of lead left and by 1706 a team of 49 miners (41 men, eight women) found a rich vein of lead that spanned 500 metres into the hillside.

This turned Odin Mine into one of the largest sources of lead in the country, with up to 800 tonnes of lead being mined per year.

By the 1840s, mining had started to slow down. Draining was a constant issue and whilst there were plans to build a sough to solve the issue, it took nearly 70 years for it to come to fruition, by which point the operations were winding down.

The Bagshawe family handed ownership of the mine over in 1856 after several years with no lead production, but the mine was still occasionally excavated until 1909 when fluorspar and barite were discovered there.

It now stands as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has since been reclaimed by nature, its mysteries hidden by a wall of vegetation.

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