Eston Beacon

From the beacon on Eston Nab, at 794 ft asl.; a glorious morning with a fine view over industrial Teesside.

When I was there two cyclists came past. They were in their mid twenties, local lads, pleasant enough but obviously not regular cyclists. They had apparently come up from Redcar. I overheard one asking the other what this stone tower was for and was dismayed to hear the reply: “must be a chimney, something to do with the mines”. I was amazed that there wasn’t even a basic knowledge of the heritage of the area.

Of course, is not a chimney and nothing to do with the old ironstone mines, the drifts and tunnels of which honeycomb Eston Moor. It’s a monument to the Beacon Tower that was erected in 1808 as a lookout against a French invasion during the Napoleonic War. During WW2 it was again used as an observation post and remained inhabited until 1956. Eventually the tower was demolished and replaced by the monument we see today.

Eston Nab has a long history of human activity. Ignoring the legend that King Arthur defeated the Angles on the summit. It’s been a refuge from the plagues which periodically ravished the towns and villages of the lowlands. At the end of the 19c fairs were held at Easter and Whitsuntide. It’s the site of an Iron Age fort, the earthworks of which can still be seen, and there are Bronze Age burial mounds.

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