Aircraft Wreck Hunting In The Peak District : Black Hill

Aircraft Wreck Hunting In The Peak District : Black Hill

Our last day was wet again, so we delayed the start of our walk to the summit of Black Hill until early afternoon, while that meant that we did not get wet to start with it did mean that we were tight for time getting off the hill before dark.

We set out from the car park at Crowden and headed North following the Pennine Way until it descends near Sliddens Moss, at which point we turned East in search of 2 Gloster Meteor wrecks.

Black Hill Meteors Black Hill Meteors Black Hill Meteors
Black Hill RAF Gloster Meteors VZ518/WA791

After wading through boggy ground for a kilometer or so we came across an area of ground covered by small pieces of debris. Continuing North East, substantial amounts of wreckage were found over an area of approximately 0.5km square, the most recognisable piece being a tail section which was hidden in a clough. There were several other sizeable pieces of wreckage such as a large wing section partially submerged in a watery pool. This area is dotted with bogs and deep pools, many of which, when prodded with walking sticks appear to contain solid submerged artefacts. One of the photographs shows a rather nice pencil sketch, presumably made by a recent visitor illustrating what a Meteor should look like.

Black Hill Meteors Black Hill Meteors
Black Hill RAF Gloster Meteors VZ518/WA791

This site is the result of an accident involving Gloster Meteors VZ518 and WA791 in April 1951. The 2 aircraft are believed to have crashed when descending through cloud killing both pilots.

The Meteor crash site is within site of the Holme Moss transmitter which is about 2km to the North East. This is a useful reference point that we used to navigate to the trig point at Black Hill. The next crash site was about 1km to the North East of that point and with an eye on the time we decided to resort to GPS to assist us in locating the 2 remaining crash sites of the day so that we would have sufficient time to descend from the hill in daylight.

Black Hill Swordfish
Black Hill Fairey Swordfish

Without the GPS to guide us it would have been difficult to locate the rather small collection of remains that have been gathered together from a Fairy Swordfish crash from 1940. This site is hidden between the peaks and troughs of the eroding peaty landscape and is very easy to miss. Someone had left a laminated information sheet giving details of the crash which was partly legible and much appreciated, but I fear that this site will not be visible for many more years as there is so little here and the surface of the ground eroding so badly in the area. The Swordfish became separated from the rest of a flight while ferrying from Silloth to Ford and it is assumed that the aircraft hit high ground during bad visibility.

Black Hill Sabre Black Hill Sabre
Black Hill RCAF Sabre

Less than 1km from the Swordfish lies the remains of an RCAF Sabre which crashed in bad weather during a test flight from Ringway in 1954. Again, we resorted to the GPS to locate the site, which, although fairly substantial, covers only a small area and could be missed due to the highs and lows of the terrain in the rapidly eroding landscape. Time was against us and we did not linger as we had to make the most of the remaining daylight to descend from the high ground. A couple of sharp showers caught us, but the sight of brilliant double rainbows made for a pleasant end to our expedition.


This website is designed for landscape mode.

Aircraft Wreck Hunting In The Peak District

Please rotate your device.