Monument Mine was one of three ironstone mines in Ayton although its official name was Ayton Mine. Sited below Capt. Cook’s Monument it was always referred to locally at Monument Mine. It operated from 1908 until 1931 and was the first ironstone mine to be connected to the mains electricity, eight years before the village itself was connected. There is a bit of a mystery why the mine was actually built. Its royalty was confined to a narrow band heading towards Gribdale Gate where it expanded to cover the whole of Great Ayton Moor joining up with the Hutton Lowcross mine which was also operated by Pease and Company. Monument Mine did not actually extend under Easby Moor and Capt. Cook’s Monument. In addition to reach Gribdale the hard volcanic Whinstone Dyke had to be broken through. It would have been far more logical to access the bulk of the royalty from Hutton but I guess they had their reasons. Maybe they had visions of negotiating further royalties.
Today the concrete foundations remaining are fast becoming overgrown and the site is used frequently for motorcycle scrambling. Some years ago I was taken into the mine for about 50m or so although it seemed a lot farther. My guide, Tom, was very experienced so I felt in safe hands. Apparently at the end of the mine’s operation it was possible to walk all the way through the tunnels to join up with the Hutton workings but there is now no air flow (and quite possible collapses) and when we turned back I remember definitely breathing heavily.