Memorial meadow created for miners

Coun Marjorie Chambers with staff from Groundwork North East & Cumbria and volunteers from Ashington Community Woods install an interpretation panel.
Coun Marjorie Chambers with staff from Groundwork North East & Cumbria and volunteers from Ashington Community Woods install an interpretation panel.

A memorial has been planted for miners who played a key role in the First World War.

Miners from the north east were an important part of trench warfare during the war, creating underground tunnels in cramped conditions.

Now a special project has created Miners Memorial Meadows in Ashington Community Woodland, thanks to the efforts of Groundwork North East & Cumbria with support from the Friends of Ashington Community Woods group, local history societies, the North of England Institute for Mining and Mechanical Engineers, libraries and schools.

Ashington Community Woods was chosen as one of the sites for a meadow as it sits on top of the honeycomb of shafts and tunnels that once made it part of the largest pit village in the world.

Local schoolchildren have surveyed plants, collected seed and grown deep-rooting plant species, as well as planting young plants on the old pit head sites during the course of the project.

The scheme also researched family stories relating to the miners from this area between 1914 and 1918 to record and archive, working with Woodhorn Museum archivists.

Civic Head of Ashington Marjorie Chambers said: “The history of Ashington is built on coal mining and this excellent project will provide a lasting legacy to miners from the town who played a very important role in producing the coal to support the war effort, as well as serving on the front line.”

She added: “It was good to see the project involving local schoolchildren and we do hope the meadow in the woodland is both well visited and respected.”

The Miners’ Memorial Meadows was a three-year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the centenary commemorations of the First World War.

Ashington Town Council also contributed to the interpretive panels placed in the woodland.

In addition, there are three school artefact loans boxes, which have been developed for children to understand the unique importance of mining in the Northumberland coalfields.