There are two coal seams in the high ground to the west of Burbage. One seam, known by various names of the years, including House Coal seam and Ringinglow seam, runs approximately north/south along the line of Burbage Edge and Axe Edge on the western side of the ridge with a steep dip towards the west. The other seam is an isolated seam around the headwaters of the river Goyt and it is known as the Goyt Coal seam.
Each of these seams was worked in the 18th and 19th century and in the 17th century to a lesser extent. Output from these small mines was taken from these isolated spots by packhorse along the local turnpikes and "coal roads" and later by a siding connected to the Cromford and High peak Railway (CHPR) that opened in 1831. Coal roads are recorded leading to Hartington, Chelmorton and Taddington. Coal transported via the siding was taken to Grin Low Quarry and Harpur Hill Quarry and so played an important part in the growth of the local lime burning industry.
The main centre of surface activity was near the Macclesfield Old Road. Level Lane led to the entrance to the Duke's Level, which still acts as the main drainage channel for the disused mine workings. Further up the Old Road and by footpaths leading from the Old Road along the western side of Axe Edge to Cisterns Clough, many other traces of the old mine workings can be seen.
These have been well described in a recent BCA publication entitled "A walking guide to Buxton' Coal Mines", which is available at Poole's Cavern (£2.50). A book "The Coal Mines of Buxton" by A F Roberts and J T Leach gives a more detailed description of the history and layout of the mines. The Goyt mine closed in 1898 while the House Coal workings moved steadily southwards to the Staffordshire border, with a drift tunnel at Cisterns Clough. These workings closed in 1921.