Calke Abbey Limeyards, September 2014

  • Location:- Calke Abbey near Ticknall 
  • Dates of site:13th Century, 18th Century
  • Site Type:- Industrial
  • Themes:- Standing Building Archaeology
  • Website:- www.ticknall-archaeology.co.uk 
  • Book:- Neaverson, P. & Palmer, M. “Industry in the Landscape, 1700-1900 (History of the British Landscape)”

Industrial archaeology was the topic covered in our visit to Calke Abbey and the Ticknall limeyards.  With expert and extensive knowledge of the area, our National Trust guide, Colin Stewart was able to take us on a tour that took in the sites known to members of the public and those “secret gems” that only those in the know could reveal!

Starting in the village of Ticknall, we saw evidence of the tramway leading to and from the various quarries and works.  Once into Calke Park it was revealed that, not only was the limestone quarried in the area, but also mined.  This has created limestone caves, which we were able to see – even though they were “off the beaten track”.  Colin then took us through the limeyards, which are now a Site of Scientific Interest and on to the consolidated remains of the limekilns.  Here we learnt about how and why lime was burnt and the industry that was built up around it.  We discovered that being a lime burner would not have been a pleasant job.  In fact it could have been very dangerous.  The return journey back to Ticknall village took us through the dark 600 yard tunnel that once the tramway passed through.  The tunnel was built to ensure that the residents of Calke Abbey did not see the industrial workings that were taking place upon their estate.  It was an enjoyable and interesting walk with lots opportunities to find out about how industry was extremely important to the area.

The history of Calke Park and Ticknall village reveals an area steeped in industrial archaeology.  There was not only the lime burning industry, which we were there to find out about, but also brick making and medieval pottery.  Industry in Ticknall goes back over 800 years and so may well provide an opportunity for further visits.

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