Walks will highlight heritage of town’s pit

Underground stables were scattered around the three pits ' the Duke, Carl and Bothal ' that made up Ashington Colliery. One of the pit trainee's favourite jobs was to learn how to use the ponies, which came down the pit when they were four-years-old and often lived to be into their thirties.
Underground stables were scattered around the three pits ' the Duke, Carl and Bothal ' that made up Ashington Colliery. One of the pit trainee's favourite jobs was to learn how to use the ponies, which came down the pit when they were four-years-old and often lived to be into their thirties.

HERITAGE trail walks next month will highlight the history of Ashington Colliery.

The walks are aimed at giving recognition to the former pit and will be held as part of the annual Heritage Open Days initiative.

The idea came about after former colliery worker George Nichol took his grandson, Thomas, to where the pit had been.

He was amazed that as they walked around Wansbeck Business Park they could not see one piece of memorabilia that portrayed where thousands of men and boys had spent their days in a pitch black environment.

George decided something needed to be done, especially when it had been the pit which spawned the town’s working community.

He came up with the idea of a trail and the development of this concept is now progressing with the support of schools, former miners and local groups.

And the potential has now prompted the Friends of Ashington Woods to arrange heritage walks over the former colliery site for the weekend of the Heritage Open Days – Saturday, September 8, and Sunday, September 9.

The walks will have a break for refreshments at Ashington Rugby Club where there will be an illustrated talk by local historian and author Mike Kirkup with some surprise guests.

Mike said: “I have thought for a long time that some kind of recognition of the colliery should be put in place, and I don’t mean an old pit winding wheel which seems to be the lot of so many former mining communities.

“Ashington deserves better. What we need is a legacy to the mines and the miners that future generations of local children can relate to.

“With this in mind it is hoped that the trail will eventually be populated with lecterns incorporating narrative, photographs and paintings detailing what stood in the various surface locations, and what was happening directly underground, when the pit was operational.”

The walks are free and suitable for children with parental supervision.

Numbers must, however, be limited to 15 to 20 people per walk so need to be pre-booked.

For further information, call Mike Kirkup on (01670) 855749 or Dennis Turner on (01670) 811549, or e-mail dennisturner198@btinternet.com