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EHFSA is back in operation after the Covid pandemic but we do need additional tutors. See the box on the EHFSA page

A Level Chemistry Activity Day


A Level Chemistry Workshops

Please read these summaries before filling in the on-line booking form. A day visit to Ecton includes a tour of Salt’s Level (CW1), a tour of Ecton Hill (CW2), and student practical (CW3). In addition, there is normally time for one of the listed extensions. Before your visit, when you speak to one of the Tutors for that day, you need to specify which extension you prefer (choice could possibly be limited by the time available). Once you have agreed your itinerary with the EHFSA, you will need to download the appropriate printed material. Click on the brown links below. At the very minimum, sufficient student sheets should be printed for members of the party covering the topics chosen for the day’s visit.

CW1: Tutor-led tour of Salts Level - 90 minutes

Salts Level is a mine adit (tunnel), which was used to remove ore from the mine. Students see where the ore body was situated and how this relates to the geological structures in the limestone. The shaft, used for hauling the ore to this level, can be viewed and related to the position of the engine house on the surface. Some evidence of mineralisation may also be viewed.

CW2: Tutor-led tour of Ecton Hill - 120 minutes

Students are shown the evidence of mining activities on the surface of Ecton Hill. The engine house is visited, and the top of the shaft and the main pipe, formerly containing the metallic minerals, are viewed. The walk continues to the spoil heap of another mine, where mineral specimens, to be chemically analysed later, are collected. The black powder store is visited, on the return journey.

CW3: Student practical  - 90 mins

Mineral samples collected during the tour of Ecton Hill are analysed by students, using standard, wet chemical tests. Emphasis is on the practical work and interpretation of the chemical reactions.

Possible extensions (time permitting).

CW3 may be extended to include the chemistry of transition metal complex ions.

CW4: Chemistry of Black Powder.

Students may prepare and ignite “black powder”, the explosive used in the Ecton mines.

Activities at Ecton - DOCUMENTATION

AL Chemistry Activity Days are curriculum-related and cover aspects of Chemistry common to all specifications: simple chemical compounds in the environment, reactions of common ions, balanced equations, and the characteristic properties of some important groups in the Periodic Table, especially transition elements.


A typical activity day includes a tour of Ecton Hill to see the evidence of mining and to visit one of the waste tips for the collection of mineral specimens. This is followed by an underground visit to see evidence of mineral extraction, and a Chemistry session. The Chemistry involves extraction of metal ions from the minerals collected on the Hill and tests on the resulting solutions to detect the metallic ions present . There is also an exercise on the making and combustion of “black powder”, the explosive formerly used to break the rock in Ecton Mine.


The cost for all these one day activities (running from around 10.00 am until 4.00 or 4.30 pm) is £10 per student, subject to a minimum charge of £100 per group. There is no charge for the statutory number of school staff, required by the school or regulations, who accompany the pupil group. Any additional adults will be charged at the same day rate as the pupils (£10 pp). The number of additional adults should be entered in the booking form and the booking form calculates the total charge as the numbers are entered.


If you would like to discuss details of your proposed Activity Day before booking, contact Susan Wilkinson to discuss your requirements on:          01732 456997



Step 1

Choose a date for the activity by going to the Ecton Availability calendar. (Use the "back" button to return here.)

Step 2

Choose whether or not you want an extension to the student practical (CW3).

Step 3

Complete the Activity Booking Request Form (Google form).

Step 4

If Tutors are available, your request will be entered in the booking system and you will be contacted shortly thereafter to confirm the booking and to give you the names and contact details of your Tutors.

Step 5

Make sure you read the document: Essential Information for AL Chemistry Activities. This gives all the details you need to prepare for your visit. You do need to complete the Visitor Information Form. You may also need a copy of the Risk Analysis and the Insurance Certificate. We would also appreciate a completed Visit to Ecton Feedback Form. Download from Activities at Ecton - DOCUMENTATION on the right.

The Ecton Experience

To get a taste of the "Ecton Experience", click on the pictures below to get 1 minute videos of activities during a typical AL Chemistry Day. (The video will play on U-Tube.)  Thanks to David Webb, Peter Neville and Walthamstow Hall School.