At the head of Honister Pass in the heart of the Lake District, you’ll find Honister Slate Mine. A still operational mine, it is the home of world-famous Westmorland Green Slate and for centuries this beautiful material has been extracted from this exact spot. As well as its industrial function, Honister Slate Mine is a hugely popular visitor attraction with tonnes to do.
History of Honister
From the early 1700s, the slate has been transported from Honister and used throughout the UK and beyond. Technology developed over time but essentially the same processes have been taking place for centuries and the same exceptional end product is produced.
In 1997 the mine became more of a visitor attraction when it was reopened by Mark Weir. Not only did he reenergise the mining side of the business, he turned it into a fantastic tourist attraction. There is a large visitor centre, underground tours of the working mine to enjoy and many more ways of finding out more about the history of mining in the area and enjoying a unique view into the workings of an operational slate mine. One of the things that makes Honister’s attractions stand out above all is their Via Ferrata, the first in the whole of England. It’s a thrilling experience which you may or may not want to try!
Honister Via Ferrata
Honister’s Via Ferrate is an exhilarating adventure climbing system. It uses a permanently fixed cable as a safety measure and you are attached onto this system by a harness for the chance to scale an original cliff path, one of the old miners’ routes. Tours are guided by professionals for safety and it is a unique way of seeing and experiencing the mine as it would have been experienced many years ago.
Honister is England’s only slate mine so this is the only location in the country you can experience exactly what they have to offer. Discovering one of the oldest industries which is still in action is both educational and entertaining and suitable for visitors of almost all ages.
On-site there is also a café for homemade snacks, drinks and meals and there is also the chance to take home some slate if you have a need for any or simply want a rather unusual memento. Honister Slate Mine also sells slate products. The on-site shop and gallery add a further dimension to the experience, ensuring you go away with a fully rounded understanding and a great experience of an unusual attraction.