UK Mining Walks & Visits Log

    Clifton Country Park Mining Walks August 2011
  A Brief Description

Distance = short walk
Route = Woodland paths
Start / End = Clifton Country Park, Kearsley (SD77140)
Weather = Sunny and warm

Our visit to Clifton Country Park, Lancashire was meant to be a quick visit to look at some of the remains of Wet Earth Colliery and part of of a route which took in Waterloo Pit and Dolly Pit at Whaley Bridge, Astley Green Colliery (see photos) then Wet Earth before heading across to Yorkshire on the way home to have a look at Flockton Lane End Colliery and Flockton Tramway followed by a quick visit to Westfield and Hemmingfield Collieries. However, due to the unsurprising large amount of remains at Wet Eath our quick 30 minutes became a flying 3 hours - and there is still more to see. We plan to revisit this site when some of the vegetation has died back; and I will updated this log accordingly.

We pulled in to the car park at the Country Park at about midday, the park was surprisingly busy and it makes a nice area for a short walk and especially nice seeing that the site is draped in industrial history and mining remains. The first port of call was in to the information centre, initially for a toilet stop but there was some nice displays about the park and the staff there were very helpful and shared an interest in the industrial archeology and history of the site. Anyhow after a few moments we started our trail around the area, the first point was the sough shaft (capped with marker) adjacent to the information centre (unfortunately the name plaque was long gone); there is also a second sough shaft and marker behind the information centre.

From the second sough shaft we took the line along the old tramway (see photo) (next to the main track) heading easterley towards the site of Wet Earth Colliery. The first set of remains we found were to the left of the track and are the remains of the managers house (see photo), adjacent these remains and slightly northward are the remains of the base of an engine house (see photo) for the upcast shaft (shaft not seen). We headed easterly from here to the visible remains of the fan (see photo) and fan house. From the fan house can be seen the wheel chamber, however before going there we had a look at the downcast / winding shaft (see photo) in a compound with two gas vents and a gated fan driift (see photo). Around here are also some loose remains of uncertain origins. We climbed down the slope behind the shaft to the fenced wheel chamber (see photos) and mock of a gin on the Gal Pit (old gin shaft) sunk in 1740s. On the otherside of the wheel chamber is a grilled small brick lined opening (possibly a flue) (see photo) and it is noted the wheel chamber is surrounded by large stone (possibly engine) blocks.

We would of been happy just to see these remains so far, however there was much more to see and some still need clearing and cleaning (hopefully we may do this in the Autumn). Leaving the wheel chamber we heading on to the path and noticed even more in-situ albeit partly buried brick and stone remains, this was the site of the gas house with the remains of a flue of fan drift type of structure and a nice piece of large curved stone (see photos). Around this area are littered a number of dressed stone blocks (see photo).

Heading back to the track we noticed the clear remains of some brick walling structure, this is the boiler(s) house(s) for the pumping and winding engines. The remains at this location includes the iron support rods, the capped shaft (possible pumping shaft) and adjacent remains of an engine base (see photos) (likely to be a pumping engine), behind this is a square hollow with a brick lined floor (see photo)which is the remains of the water clarification pond for the boilers. We headed around the pond and tried to have a look for the back of the engine house, but it was too overgrown; thus we contiuned northerly along the path to find more remains, some of these are from the decorative chimney (Fletchers Folly) which appears to have two flue, one evident as a slightly raised bank with alot of ash and slag around, the other as a slight hollow.

From the chimney we heading northerly back towards the gas house, somehow we missed out looking at the remains of the miners cottages and the remains of the old drift. However, en-route to the penstock arch we did notice the remains of a few capped shaft (see photo) and some more stone remains. Even though the tunnel entrance (see photo) was restored in recent years the site of the penstock arch (see photos) and canal and screens area were very fascinating. We had a good look around the canal area which was also partly overgrown, however the site and trip was just getting better and better and we still had no idea of what was still to be seen.

Next we heading northeastlerly to the path, and decided to have a look at the canal to the east of the arch - this was because we could some some large stone block on top of the canal on the otherside. However, to our amasement and after climing the wooden fence with found even more in-situ brick and stone remains and capped sough shaft along side the canal. This is the area of the washery and drift (day eye) engine house (see photos), back over the fence are some more remains, possible of the screening plant. From this point the tramway embankment was clearly visible. Leaving this location we headed east along the track and found ourselves at the site of a curious boat shaped feature (see photo) which resembles some sort of canal boat building or repair.

The next feature we wanted to find was to see if there were any remains of the travelling crane, however we misjudged this slightly, however still found some partly burid remains, not sure what of but are located to the south of the loco shed (see photo), which we found be deciding to head north to th canal and then follow the line of the canal to the likely position of the crane. We found the crane base (yes!!) and it was still there in-situ (see photo) and include a brick structue with flue vents and iron support rods. We tried to find the other side of this on the other side of the canal, however the area was too overgrown. So we headed along the path to the edge of the lake where the site of another sough shaft was seen (see photo). Next our plan was to find the adit along the river and on the way to these was the hollowed area of the old dock and boat repair area. We found one of the adits, gated with some tramtrack cut in to the rock and some steps cut in to the rock face (see photos). We followed the path between Fletchers Canal and the river heading southerly and came across some brick structure between the canal and river (possible swing bridge) which had a slight curve nature to it. From this feature (see photo) we headed back along the path noting the canal overflow on the way and got back to the car park.

An excellent trip and a must see again in the Autumn / Winter