It was another busy day on site for the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery. Regular volunteers Paul and Chris opened up, Joined by John and returning Peak District regular John B. and Site Manager Glen later in the day.
Taking to the Task(s)
Paul and Chris set about clearing the brambles of the lower terrace, by the old rear access gate to the lower terrace. This space had been something of a dumping ground for the spoil from digging elsewhere on site, but it was high time to clear back the undergrowth that were rapidly hiding the area.
Meanwhile the two John started work clearing away weeds and debris from a ledge by the headgear. Inaccessible normally, with ladders to hand, it was good to see some progress here, protecting the decay of the wall.
Measure for Measure
Afterwards it was time for a little measuring. As part of checking the retaining wall, the Friends have taken the opportunity to look at the heights of the various shaft tops, walls, and water levels around the colliery. This will help us understand the relationship between the flooded shafts and the canal, the culverted Knoll Beck and other surface drainage.
At the base of the wall above the rear terrace, the Friends have been digging away an amount of muck and dumped earth/rubble to be able to properly assess the state of the wall where stone masonry has either eroded or else slightly collapsed. After removing an amount of mud and sludge, their efforts released a pent-up feed of drainwater emerging from the wall. The water had been merrily bubbling through the stone wall for a number of weeks, and finding the source of it – whether ground water, or broken drainage is also something the Friends are endeavouring to resolve.
After pausing for dinnertime, with shared stories and plans for the year ahead, the Friends and volunteers got straight back to work, both clearing and digging at the base of the rear wall. In addition Glen continued brick reclamation work to reduce the pile of bricks from the wall that has been disassembled to examine the rear retaining wall. After a solid day’s work, the crew upped tools, locked up and headed home.