Today, I’ve been for a short walk at Walkmill Woodland – the home of the former Walkmill Colliery, at Moresby Parks in West Cumbria. The coal mining site closed in the 1960’s and the land was developed for recreation, although since then, Cumbria County Council have sold off large swathes of land to developers. I visited today, before all is lost.
- The recreation land at Walkmill is currently for sale. Cumbria County Council claim that the land is surplus to requirements. The council have put in place mechanisms to ensure that footpaths, etc, are maintained by new owners.
At its peak, the mine employed over 900 people. Between 1911 and 1920, the annual output was 124,469 tons. Walkmill was nationalised in 1947, by the Labour Government, and became the property of the National Coal Board.
There were many tragedies to hit the mine during its lifetime. One of the most shocking deaths, was that of a George Curwen, aged 18 years. While working with two other men, Curwen had crawled beneath a wagon to lift a door and discharge coal into the conveyor. While doing so, five full wagons brought by his colleagues bumped the one he was working beneath. The wheel of a full wagon passed over his neck. A newspaper report from the time said, “He never spoke again, and died before the arrival of Dr. Cass, of Distington.”
- Cumbria County Council have published a leaflet for those thinking of visiting the woodland. Get it here.
- Walkmill is situated adjacent to the village of Moresby Parks and the Whitehaven Commercial Park, with access and car park just off Walkmill Bridge.