Mosley Hall Tramway

High Peak, Derbyshire
Mosley Hall Pit to Gnat Hole Lime Kilns, Buxworth

The two batteries comprising the Gnat Hole lime kilns were located to the south of Bugsworth Basin at the terminus of the Peak Forest Canal. Four kilns were placed on the eastern side of Chinley Road and another four on the western side. The two batteries were linked by two bridges, side-by-side, over Chinley Road. This arrangement provided access by two tramway sidings over the road for the supply of limestone to the western battery. The two bridges were known as the Bugsworth Arches.

Coal to fire the kilns was supplied from Mosley Hall Pit on the hillside due south of Bugsworth Basin. To facilitate the supply of coal, the pit was connected to a coal staithe at the junction of Chinley Road and Weston (or Western) Lane by a single-track tramway running down the hillside that was about 563-yards long. The method of transporting coal from the staithe to the kiln heads was not recorded. It could have been transferred to carts, or even wheelbarrows, for the short distance down Chinley Road and another possibility is that coal tubs were simply hauled down the road. Supplementary coal would also have been boated in from Whaley Bridge and New Mills.

It is known that there was a natural outcrop of the Yard Mine (seam) on the hillside in the vicinity of Mosley Hall and Mosley Hall Pit was opened to tap into this. Coal from the Yard Mine was particularly suited for burning in lime kilns and this gave rise to its alternative name of Kiln Seam. It is likely that Mosley Hall Pit opened at about the same time that the first Gnat Hole lime kilns were built.

It is possible that the earliest lime kilns to be built at Gnat Hole became operational at, or shortly after, the Upper Peak Forest Canal opened for trade in August 1796. A map of 1815 shows three kilns in the east battery but none in the west battery, so it is likely that Mosley Hall Pit opened either in the late 18th or early 19th century. Lime burning at Bugsworth Basin began to decline in the 1880s and as a consequence Mosley Hall Pit might have closed around this time.

In addition to Mosley Hall Pit there were another three pits nearby to the south. One was the Lower Hobcroft Pit but there are no records of the names of the other two.

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