Waterfall Swallet, Eyam.

Posted May 25th, 2013 in Historical, Uncategorized by briansellars

swallet Panorama1






Waterfall Swallet near Eyam.

How could anywhere with such   a fascinating name not be  worth a visit?  Swallet is an old Derbyshire  lead mining term for a place  where water breaks into a mine. From Roman times, water was a major problem for Eyam’s miners burrowing through the limestone beneath their village. Waterfall Swallet lies on a beautiful, wooded hillside below an escarpment called Eyam Edge. A scatter of ancient, now disused lead mines, surround it, though it was never a mine itself. It is a secret waterfall.

Few people find it, yet each year hundreds visit Eyam to see the Plague Cottages and hear the story of how, in 1665, the villagers chose to quarantine themselves and wait to die, rather than risk spreading the plague – the virulent killer, that, according to the story, arrived in a wedding dress. You may be thinking, it was not the first, nor last time that terror arrived in a wedding dress. I could not possibly comment.
Take the Foolow road from Eyam. About 2 miles on, before you get to Waterfall Farm, the Swallet can be found beyond the dry stone wall on your right. It’s a sinkhole into which tumbles a beautiful secret waterfall.
It was the reason I chose Eyam as a location in my novel, The Whispering Bell. I remember standing, watching the waterfall, and wondering how many thousands of years nature had taken to complete its sculpture.
Eyam, the name comes from the old English for island, or land between waters, stands above and between many little streams and brooks. The limestone beneath it is riddled with caves. Even Eyam church was said to stand over Carlswark Cavern, one of the biggest. I hope not. My 17th century ancestors are buried near the sacristy door there. I would hate to think their coffins just dropped, unceremoniously down into caves below when they buried them.

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