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The river Lathkill is one of the smallest rivers in Derbyshire. There were weirs built to channel water into a mill, powering machinery in the early Industrial Revolution period. Lathkill Dale was mined for its lead for many centuries, though the shafts, drainage channels and spoil heaps have now been absorbed into the natural landscape. Most of the lead supplies had been exhausted by the 18th century but in the 1840's there was an attempt to drain the deeper mines by building a steam engine, powered by water from the Mandale viaduct. The scheme was a proved to be a fruitless waste of money. The area around Lathkill Dale is prized for its great beauty and much of the valley is part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve.