River Tone

Tracebridge Slate Cutting Mill

Circa 1894 a tunnel was constructed to run from the quarry floor of Tracebridge Slate Quarry to the banks of the river Tone. The tunnel was approximately 150 metres in length. A weir was built across the river to divert water through a short leat to enable an undershot water-wheel to provide the power for slate cutting machinery at the riverside. Small gauge rail track was installed in the tunnel to enable slate to be hauled in trucks from the quarry to the slate works, the tunnel also acted as an adit to take water from the quarry to the river. The loaded trucks were pushed by two men through the tunnel to the riverside and the cutting and planing sheds. The cut and finished slate was used for dairy slabs, water troughs and slate damp-proofing. The drum shown on the map below was the location for quarry waste. Circa 1920 a programme of modernisation in the quarry took place and the slate was prepared at road level. Consequently the river works were abandoned and gradually destroyed by quarry waste deposited in the river valley.

Today the only reminder of the artisans that worked the slate cutting mill are the ruins of two of the buildings and of course the tunnel which was constructed through solid rock by the miners.

References: Eric G Rodwell - Tracebridge. A History of the Hamlet, its Houses, The Quarries and the Mill.

Ttracebridge slate works
Ttracebridge slate works

The above 1904 map published with permission from Ordnance Survey and Old-Maps.co.uk

Please note that the site is on private land and should not be visited without permission.