Wheels of heritage

There are few places in England where you'll find a better example of our early industrial connection with the land around us than the millstones of the peak district. Seen hidden amongst the grass and bracken for miles around, they typically date from the 18th and 19th Century and were once widely used for grinding grains into flour, designed for use in the water, wind and steam mills of the north at places like Hawarden corn mill. Carved from millstone grit rock by quarrymen directly beneath the cliffs such as these here at stanage edge, on average they span around 2 metres, and can weigh nearly 4 tonnes, which makes the task of getting them down from such a remote location onto transport and across the country even more astounding. When traditional milling in Britain began to die down following the industrial revolution, many of the millstones in production were dumped as they were on the vast open landscape, beneath cliffs or along tracks as if dropped en route to their destination. With no reason to carry on through lack of demand, many have been left for more than a century as a constant reminder of the intimate connection we once had with the landscape here. They'll likely remain that way for centuries to come.