Apedale Heritage Centre

Monday July 21st 2003 saw the first outing of the CCMHS our Vice Chairman and outside events organiser Mr. Mick Drury  arranged a private visit for the Society to the Apedale Heritage Centre and Coal Mine , Loomer Road, Chesterton, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffs, ST5-7RR.

The event was supported by 11 members and 17 of their guests who arrived at Apedale Heritage Centre  at 10.00am and were meet by Barrie Collinson who welcomed our party and explained the itinerary for the visit. The visit was split into two parts and consisted of groups of not more than 10 persons being taken underground into the drift mine workings by a guide. The guide was an ex-coal miner who had worked at the Apedale mine and was able to explained in some detail the methods of working in such a small mine, these methods having changed very little over the past 100 years.  He was also experienced in the workings of modern mines having worked at Florence and Hem Heath Collieries so he was also able to explain modern mining methods compared to Apedale mine to the uninitiated amongst the parties.

 The people remaining on the surface were invited into the museum exhibition hall where Barrie Collinson gave an excellent account of the Romano/British history of the surrounding countryside. The collection of mining artefacts held in the exhibition hall is the largest in the country and is the most comprehensive the writer has ever seen covering every aspect of coal mining.

We were served a most scrumptious buffet lunch of which there was more than enough choice and food to satisfy anyone's palette and appetite.

In conclusion the CCMHS would recommend anyone interested in our coal mining heritage to visit and enjoy this excellent facility that is presented entirely by volunteers. We were made welcome from start to finish by the volunteers who run the Apedale Centre and were invited back anytime we would like to visit. We found the underground experience to be of excellent quality and not to strenuous even for the not to fit persons amongst our group.  A GOOD DAY WAS HAD BY ALL and we would like to thank the Apedale Centre for their hospitality and friendship. Thanks also go to Mick Drury for an excellent first Society visit and we  look forward to him organising many more of the same.

Some facts about the Apedale Heritage Centre.

The centre is easily accessible; just follow the Apedale Valley Brown signs. We are located on the Apedale Community Country Park 250 metres from the park entrance.

The park is a unique landscape full of historical and wildlife interest just waiting to be explored. It extends to almost 200 acres of woodland, wetland and meadow and is managed by Staffordshire County Council Countryside Services.

Nature has reclaimed the landscape from how it appeared two centuries ago. However, whilst walking in these beautiful surroundings you come across reminders of the coal mines, railways, canal, blast furnaces, and brickworks that once thrived in the valley


Snail Beach Trip

On Saturday the 20th May the CCMHS made one of it annual outings to SnailBeach Lead Mine at Minsterly Shropshire. The outing was by kind invitation of the volunteers of the Shropshire Mines Trust who did an excellent job of guiding us round the various buildings and underground levels of the ancient mining site.

It is a credit to them and their determination that this and other such sites should not disappear from our landscape and our heritage should not be lost for every.

Although the trip was not well attended by the society committee (disappointingly) some die hard members who always attend braved the continuous downpour from above and had an excellent visit. I can honestly say if you did not attend hard luck, all who did, went home in the knowledge that they had seen some of the most fascinating (hand cleaved in solid rock) shafts and tunnels that there are in the British Isles, one being 550 yards deep (almost as deep as Littleton Colliery shafts). We all went home wet but not one of use would have missed the experience.

The Society would like to offer it's whole hearted thanks to Shropshire Mines Trust for the opportunity to visit such a fine site as Snailbeach and especially our guides Nick & Mike thanks lads.

Do not miss this one its well worth the trip to Minsterly and easy to get to off the Shrewsbury bye pass.