This is a field guide to the relics of copper mining in the fells above Coniston, at Tilberthwaite, Greenburn and at Seathwaite Tarn above the Duddon Valley. Because of opportunities these old mines present for the study of industrial archaeology, for adventure, mineral collecting and geology there is an ever-increasing awareness of them among widely varying sections of the public. One could say a new sport has come into being as more and more people of all age groups, not contenting themselves solely with surface exploration and fossicking in old dumps, are going below ground. Mining did not cease completely in the region until 1942, having commenced at Coniston in or around 1599. Evidence of working from the earliest times right through to the 1950s are to be seen at Coniston, thus creating a unique memorial to the immense endeavour which has taken place both on and under these fells.
Eric Holland's interest in matters subterranica extended back to his younger years when he was active with the Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club in the early development of the now famous Easegill/ Lancaster Hole series of caverns. Posted for Military Service to Malaya during the Emergency, he was overjoyed to find himself only a few miles from the huge Batu caves, and as a result of his explorations there he brought out 'A Guide to Batu Caves'. Discharged in Malaya he became managerial assistant on a large open-cast mine and on forages into the surrounding jungle he discovered and explored a number of caverns. His lone explorations had their dangers - not only from the vastness and complexity of the caves. But from merciless terrorists and even trigger happy security forces. But that was not all - there were the creatures of the darkness - one needed to be rather careful to avoid becoming part of the food chain. Eric Holland was Editorial Assistant with the journal Mine and Quarry Engineering, a quarry manager, offered an explosive service and did the occasional job on a steam roller. He published prints of a mining industrial archaeological nature. By a quirk of events he became the last person in the Furness District to fill and send to grass a waggon of iron ore from the last mine to operate- Margaret Mine. His 'Underground in Furness' series of books are well known in mining/ Caving circles. Together with like minded colleagues he formed the Cumbria Amenity Trust, a mining historical society carrying out active exploration and concerning itself with preservation and access. He has appeared on British television several times. He was a voluntary National Park Warden. Eric died in 2003.