Environmental degradation caused by industry is not new. The patch of grey in the centre of this photograph - looking rather like a man's bald-spot - is a 'toxic tip', where the hillside is bare of vegetation. It has been devastated for 100 years.
The patch lies just below the tiny adit (i.e. entrance to underground workings) of the old 'Dutchman's Mine', on Ecton Hill, where copper was mined up to the end of the nineteenth century. Basically, as the spill came up from the deep mine, the miners chucked what they didn't want out of the entrance, where it then just accumulated on the slope. The toxic minerals poisoned the surrounding few acres - as you can see.
I gathered these facts from a fabulous book of walks called 'In The Footsteps of Our Ancestors - Heritage Walks' by John Barnett, which is a terrific guide to the hidden history of the White Peak area. Definitely recommended.