What lies beneath? Archaeologists offer site tours at Beck Hole community excavation

Archaeologists in the North York Moors National Park who are investigating the hidden past of the Victorian mining industry are offering guided tours to visitors during July. The tours will run twice daily at 11am and 2pm from Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 July, and again from Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 July.

The site of the excavation, which lies in Combs Wood near Beck Hole, Goathland, was once a hive of industrial activity. During the mid-19th century, numerous ironstone mines and their associated buildings dotted the hillside. Alas, the industry was short-lived, as landslides buried the mines and problems beset the nearby furnaces at Beck Hole.

Now, thanks to the support of National Lottery players, archaeological methods are being used to find out more about the structures in Combs Wood as part of the Land of Iron project, funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Tom Mutton, Land of Iron Programme Manager at the North York Moors National Park Authority said:

“Little is known about this site and we are hoping to find answers. We want to know how these buildings fit into the history of the area and discover how the people who shaped this landscape lived and worked.

“It’s not often members of the public get an opportunity to visit an active archaeological excavation, so we’re delighted to be able to offer guided tours from Goathland. Come and see our archaeologists at work and learn about the site at the same time as us.”

The ‘Combs Wood Excavation’ tours are free to attend. Please visit www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/events for more information. Each tour must meet at the National Park car park in Goathland, there is then a walk down to the site. Please note that the site is closed on Sunday 8 and Monday 9 July.

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