Shilbottle Lime Kiln

Lime Kiln Alnwick Northumberland

Shilbottle Lime Kiln

Lime Kiln In Alnwick, Northumberland

A late 18th or early 19th Century Lime Kiln just outside Shilbottle.

During the later 18th and early 19th century there was an uptick in demand for quicklime in order to improve Britain's agricultural output. This proved to be good news for those areas where limestone could be quarried, as it allowed a local industry to pop up and develop. Field Kilns began to be constructed in those areas to produce the quicklime and transport it via horse and cart to the local area. Northumberland's proximity to the coast saw it develop coastal trade, in addition to inland trade, with ships transporting the quicklime from harbours where larger banks of kilns had been constructed. As with many things, the arrival of the railway saw many of the smaller kilns close down as larger commercial units, which could supply whole regions, became more economically viable.

There is little information on the history of Shilbottle Lime Kiln to be found but according to Historic England it is considered to be of late 18th or early 19th century construction and is heptagonal in shape (seven sided). It is constructed of roughly squared stone with cut dressings and has brick arches, eyes and lining to the circular pot on the top. The pot is where the limestone was placed before heating to above 840 degrees Celsius and it is partly infilled. 

There are three round arches on the sides which are corbelled down to small arched eyes that lead to where the fire was set beneath the pot. To the rear of the kiln is what is known as a charging ramp though it is mostly obscured by the surrounding vegetation. In this case it is curved and would have allowed the carts filled with limestone to access to higher level where the pot is found. 

The limestone quarry that supplied Shilbottle Lime Kiln sat to the direct north and south of it and the area of scrub and woodland that surrounds the kiln today follows the approximate outline of the areas quarried.

Shilbottle Lime Kiln, while one of many lime kilns found in Northumberland and the wider country, is a Grade II Listed structure, designated by Historic England.  

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Where Is Shilbottle Lime Kiln

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55.374987, -1.684629
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Follow the track and bear right and you will see the kiln. It is less than a 5 minute walk.

Where To Park?

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55.371725, -1.682209

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Park just off the road next to the track that runs into the fields.

Andrew Gardner

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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