New Fancy is a Forestry Commission amenity site, which is located at the site of the former coal mine of the same name. New Fancy is a great place to discover some of the history of the local mining and quarrying industries, the sites of which were spread throughout the Forest of Dean in previous times.
At New Fancy you can see the unique Geomap, which celebrates both the geological and the industrial history of the Forest of Dean. The map represents the geology of the Forest of Dean. Each layer of rock shown on Geomap is made from the actual rock it represents, taken from local quarries.
The Protheroe family appear to have had interests in the New Fancy gale (a gale is an area of a coal seam or iron ore vein) since the early 1800’s. The gale itself was certainly being worked by 1840, probably through the Parkend gale, as in that year Protheroe stated that he required a ‘better, cheaper, outlet’ for his New Fancy coals. The cheaper outlet would come about by sinking a shaft on the New Fancy gale thus avoiding the wayleave charged by the Crown on all coal from one gale passing into another. The New Fancy gale award covered the coal in the Churchway High Delf, Rockey, Starkey, Park End High Delf, Little Delf and Smith Coal veins.
Nothing much happened until about 1960, when the development of the Llanwern steelworks in South Wales meant that there was demand for huge quantities of shale to stabilise the marshy area where the new steelworks were to be built. Consequently large volumes of shale were removed from the New Fancy spoil heaps, and from many of the spoil heaps associated with other mines in the Forest of Dean area. At the end of the process the spoil heap at New Fancy had been reduced in size by two thirds.