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13 Mar 2021
Somerset Fascinating Facts Here are a number of fascinating historical walks around the remote Hamlet of Charterhouse, which has been the site of lead mining for over 2000 years
In Charterhouse Somerset mining took place during the late Iron Age but it was the Romans who began serious extraction of the lead in AD 49. In the 17th and 18th centuries miners from Cornwall tried to exploit the ore they thought lay further underground but soon discovered the lead petered out as they delved deeper.
However, they found they could profitably re- smelt the slag left behind by the Romans and thus an industry was born.
The remains of this operation can be discovered on the Velvet Bottom track walk where the black glassy slag and flues still remain.
This long history of lead mining has created many valuable wildlife habitats, including rare plants that flourish in the toxic heavy metals of lead, zinc and cadmium.
For more on Somerset's incredible history and heritage go to our interactive E Book.