One of the aims of Woodlands View Education is to rejuvenate an area that has been scarred by mining and manufacturing. The industrial history of the locality is still visible in the surrounding hills and moorland, as well as being easily dug out of the ground.  There is also plenty evidence in the stone blocks and walls on Woodlands View itself.

Previously, the site was the location of Hepworth’s ceramics and before that it was Temperley’s ‘Middle Shop’ Pipeworks. As both coal and fireclay could be dug out of the ground it made it the ideal location for the production of ceramic pipe.  We know that there has been mining and associated industry on site since the mid 1800s. The coal was mainly extracted by drift mining.  This involved digging near-horizontal tunnels (drifts) rather than deep vertical shafts into the ground. Where the drifts break out onto the surface is know as an adit. There are several places where adits are visible and we have old maps that show the location of capped mineshafts.

 

 

More information on the history of local mining and the workings on Bacup Road can be found on COAL MINES IN THE TODMORDEN & WALSDEN AREA

Digging any sort of hole at Woodlands View, quickly exposes vast amounts of broken pipe that was left over from the demolition of the factory. The soil seems to be fairly poor and along with the woolly lawnmowers it makes it quite difficult for a wide variety of plants to become established.

We regularly find large amounts of brick buried in the ground and occasionally hit upon sizable blocks of stone that look like they could have been part of factory walls.  In places it appears that factory walls and chimney footings are still visible - although they are slowly grassing over.

Large amounts of material were carved out of the opposite hillside (Midgelden Bank) during this industrial period, leaving an area of eroding shales and mine spoil. This hillside had trees planted on it by Treesponsibility over ten years ago and they have recently been planting willow fascines (using willow grown at South Woodlands) to help reduce the erosion of the banks.  The trees are making excellent progress and this part of the hill is really starting to green up.  As our own trees become more established in the slightly more sheltered valley, it should make a nice haven for wild life and visitors alike.

Another consequence of past industry the area is that Midgelden Brook, which runs alongside the A681 is regularly subject to contamination by mineral rich water from old mine workings. Compounds of aluminium have also been detected in the water and on occasion, after heavy rainfall, sections of the brook can appear as though they have had milk tipped into them.

A treatment plant has been built to reduce the effects of the mine water and monitoring of invertebrate life both upstream and downstream of the works is due to commence in 2014 to help assess its effectiveness.