Frogs & flowers, Saturday 22nd June 2019

A nice prospect: the pit opening up, but tinged with frustration at criminal damage

It was an absolutely cracking day at Hemingfield for the Open Day. Compared to the previous fortnight when rain stopped play. The sun was beating down, baking the ground, drawing all the greenery higher. Set against the bright blue sky it was beautiful; still the crew were eager to get back on site and stuck in once more. Friends Chair Steve, and Site Manager Glen opened up, joined by regular volunteers John, Paul, Chris and Keith during the day which was equal parts glorious sunshine and hard yacker.

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Mowing the meadow, Open Day, Sat 25th May 2019

Ah, this is the life. The Great Outdoors. Hemingfield Pit life. A sun-drenched, hazily blue-skied morning with the Friends and regular volunteers arriving at Hemingfield; a cool breeze and whispy clouds drifting by as the gates opened wide in welcome for another busy working day.

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Summertime sprung: Open day Sat 23rd February 2019

Wow, we could really get used to this! Yet another unseasonably beautiful day welcomed the Friends back on site as the regular volunteers continued work on the retaining wall around the back of the site overlooking the railway line.

Pausing to admire the views as the crew arrived during the morning, we felt more in danger of sunburns than winter chills, with long shadows casting headgear silhouettes out over the Elsecar Heritage Railway line below.

Digging inThis weekend’s open day saw site Manager Glen and regular volunteers John, Paul and Chris, later joined by Andy working on the retaining wall again, but this time focussing on the top side.

In order to secure the long term stability of parts of the retaining wall which have given way, it has been necessary to dig down behind the brickwork at the top to find the level of the stonework, in order to reduce the danger of masonry falling and also to ease pressure on the lower walling.

There was also more work at the base of the wall. On the last Open Day the group had removed fallen stone and dug out a depth of mud from the bottom of the wall and, in so doing, allowed water to drain from the wall.

Allowing the water to drain out of the week may help to prevent further collapse.Flying highDowning tools for the day, the group paused by the headgear as a kestrel hovered into view over the valley between Hemingfield and Elsecar.

This magnificent bird of prey, so closely linked in popular culture to this area, to Barry Hines’ Kes, celebrating 50 years since it was first published. As part of the Great Place Wentworth and Elsecar “Futurist” cinema events (named after a former local cinema), there is to be a special screening of the film adaptation hosted at Milton Hall on Tuesday 12th March.

#Kes50 image by artist Patrick Murphy

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