The Road Across Mam Tor:
The “White Peak” part of the Peak
District has limestone – calcium carbonate, beneath the soil – this limestone
was formed from the deposits of sea creatures, when this whole area was a warm
shallow coral sea, some 3000 million years ago. Where rivers ran into that sea,
mud formed in estuaries and those estuaries now appear as shale deposits in the
limestone. One of the largest of these shale formations is at Mam Tor near
Castleton. Shale is unstable rock – and that instability has led to Mam Tor
being known locally as “The Shivering Mountain”! Despite all that – what
eventually became the A625 road was built across the slopes of Mam Tor - first
constructed in the early 1800’s by the Sheffield & Chapel-en-le-Frith Turnpike
Company using spoil from the nearby Odin Mine. It replaced the much earlier,
ancient packhorse route, running through the Winnats Pass. Also known locally
as "The New Road", the new section was set at an easier gradient than the
Winnats Pass route. To keep the road useable, as a result of further movement of
the Mam Tor landslip, major road works were required in 1912, 1933, 1946, 1952
and 1966. On the last occasion, the road was closed for six weeks. In 1974 large
parts of the Mam Tor section collapsed during a massive landslide. Additional
road works were carried out regularly, when wet years led to further landslides.
Finally, the Mam Tor section of the road was abandoned in 1979. Hereafter,
traffic was routed through the Winnats Pass to rejoin the A625 at Windy Knoll.
My Father worked for many years at Eldon Hill Quarry (now closed), on the road between Mam Tor and Sparrowpit. Roadstone supply to the road across Mam Tor, was a near daily task for the Quarry!
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Camera on the Macclesfield Road
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