Visited a fair bit of the former Selby coalfield today with Stock TM. Here is a bit of history:
In 1972 boreholes drilled by the NCB confirmed the presence of a reservoir of coal the size of the Isle of Wight. In 1974 the Labour Government and the National Coal Board (NCB), initiated a decade long ambitious expansion of coal production. The 'Plan for Coal' was based on maximising income from indigenous coal reserves at a time when oil prices had risen due to the 1973 oil crisis. Selby Coalfield was a major element of the plan and five pits were created, Wistow, North Selby, Ricall, Stillingfleet, and Whitemoor, linked by an underground network of railways and conveyors to transport coal to the one surface exit at Gascoigne Wood and thence by train to nearby power stations.
Shafts for the pits began to be sunk in the late 1970s, and in 1983 Wistow Mine began production, by 1993/4 the complex had peak output of 12 million tonnes p.a. Geological problems caused some coal seams to be ignored, and Whitemoor Mine merged with Riccall Mine in 1996, North Selby Mine merged with Stillingfleet Mine in 1997. By 2000 production was 4.4 million tonnes p.a. Between 1995 and 1999 the operation turned from being successfully profitable to loss making, the first loss was recorded in 1999; relatively fixed costs associated with the single exit point at Gascoigne Wood meant that the mine became less profitable as production was reduced at the five pits. By 2000 the loss was (£30 million pa), and received no subsidy; in 2002 the closure of the Selby coalfield in 2003/4 was announced by UK Coal the then owners. Mining ended in 2004 at Wistow (May), Stillingfleet (July), and Riccall (October). The total amount of coal mined was 121 million tonnes. The Gascoigne Wood Mine site is the largest, with 44 ha (0.44 km2) developable land, and best connected of the former mine sites, with rail connections.
When the planning application for the mining complex was originally granted in the 1970s, a condition was applied that the sites be returned to agricultural use when mining ceased. Since the mines’ closure in 2004, villagers have campaigned hard for this return to agricultural use. UK Coal has applied for a change of use at the site in 2005, but district planners turned down the application. Now Wistow lies derelict but in reasonably stripped condition and Gascoigne Wood stockyard (the large shed) is full to the brim of gypsum (a by product from the nearby Drax power station), and the main yard is used for the storage and recycling of tyres.
So, on with the photos:
The Selby Mines Complex:
Gascoigne Wood as it looked when yer dad was younger:
Note large shed, right hand side.
The mutha of all sheds as it is today:
View from half way up:
Walls giving way!
A large pile of gypsum:
Conveyor belts never to work again:
Another shot of the huge shed:
And a large ole in the ground:
Cheerio Gascoigne Wood, onto Wistow and a light showering:
Rail tracks everywhere:
The only chair:
Door of stickers....wtf thats a lot of bananas
Reflecting on the pit:
Underground Craftsmen! Not your common or garden miner here you know
I'm sure this is the angle I took it and the chimney is not really leaning!!
Both sites now very stripped given that they closed back around 2004 which is a shame indeed, but a great mooch none the less. Oh, and if you do go down to the woods today (Gascoigne), be sure to avoid the razor wire, dang that stuff is nasty!!