Sites in the forest

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The sites, buildings, and other objects recorded in the Dean Forest Database and presented in these pages is an eclectic mix. The collection of records has grown in an organic way, as the individual records reflect the personal interests of the contributors. The only criterion for the choice of subject for inclusion in the database is historical relevance, although we would ultimately like to try to cover as broad a range of subjects and localities as possible, relevant to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

The entries in the Database are categorised under the following subject headings:

Mines & Quarries; Transport; Industry; Agriculture and Forestry; Religion; Other Buildings

You can either use the "search" facility at the top of this page to find an entry, or browse through the whole collection, or 'filter by category' to narrow your browsing choice.

If you would like to add an entry to our Database, please complete the feedback form to send us a photograph of, and/or information, about any site, building or other object which is associated with the history of the Forest of Dean or Wye Valley.

Flour Mill Colliery

Although Flour Mill was first galed in 1843, a chemical works had been built on the site by 1844. However, shaft sinking was in progress in 1866, and coal was certainly being produced by 1874. Two steam engines were installed, but were not working in 1880. In 1891 the Princess Royal Colliery Co. Ltd was formed to work both Princess Royal (Park Gutter) and Flour Mill. At the same time, a rope-worked tramway was built from Flour Mill to Park Gutter, to where the Severn and Wye Railway's Oakwood Branch had just been extended. Flour Mill worked the Yorkley, Whittington and Coleford High Delf Seams of the Pennant Group (middle Upper Coal Measures), the latter seam (4 ft 6 in. thick) being reached at a depth of 423 ft in no. 3 shaft. The combined output (with Princess Royal) was 600 tons of coal per day in 1906. Due to a combination of strikes (in 1909 and 1912), geological difficulties, and very wet conditions, it was decided to develop Flour Mill by deepening Park Gutter shaft, which was completed in 1915. An underground connection was made in 1916, and coal ceased to be wound at Flour Mill in 1928. Fair. Several of the surface buildings survive, including a fine generator house of about 1908, now occupied by a locomotive engineering company. A well-preserved tramroad tunnel is near the colliery site. (April 2002)


Forest House

Forest House is on Cinder Hill, Coleford. It was built in about 1795, with walls two feet thick. Shortly after it was built, a sideways extension was made that doubled its size. In the 19th century it was known as Tump House. It was always regarded as a 'more substantial house', ie occupied by well-to-do people.


Foxes Bridge Colliery

The original Foxes Bridge Colliery of c.1837 was never completed, and in 1855 sinking of a new colliery began further north. There were two shafts, the Land and Deep Pits, working the top part of the Upper Coal Measures (Supra-Pennant Group), including the Twenty Inch, Lowery, Starkey, Rocky, and Churchway High Delf Seams; the latter reached at a depth of 851 ft in the Land Pit. A 30-inch. beam engine was in use in 1873, and a 60-inch Cornish high-pressure engine in 1880. There was a rope-worked inline down to the Great Western Railway's Forest of Dean Branch, as a well as a connection with the Severn and Wye Railway's mineral loop (1872). The colliery was one of the largest in Dean, producing 126978 tons of coal in 1880 and 500 tons/day in 1906. In 1919 fear of water ingress led to the purchase (jointly with Lightmoor) of Trafalgar Colliery. Closure came in 1930 due to water entering from Crump Meadow Colliery which had closed the previous year. Very bad. There are some remains of concrete and stone walls and foundations, including a possible loading wharf. Much of the tip has now been levelled. (April 2002)


Hamblins Yorkley Free Mine

After a new gale (Hamblins Yorkley) was defined in about 1920, the Yorkley Seam (Pennant Group) was worked by the Hamblin family. The mine is currently (2002) owned by John Hine, who is using it as a training area for those who wish to qualify as free miners by workin underground for the reqiured year and a day. A number of other free mines have been worked at various times in Wimberry Slade, and some evidence of these remains. Good. A typical Forest free mine, with corrugated iron shed and drift mine entrance, complete with tramway tracks. (May 2002)


Harrow Hill Colliery

Albert Jones acquired the mining rights on Prosper gale at Harrow Hill in 1916, also taking a lease on the east wing of Speedwell Newbridge Colliery; Newbridge Engine Colliery was purchased in 1918. Harrow Hill Colliery probably worked the Coleford High Delf Seam of the Pennant Group, which crops out in this area. Speedwell Newbridge Colliery sidings were used for shipping coal initially, but a private siding was completed in 1924, coal being transported there by a bridge over the Nailbridge-Drybrook road. Unfortunately, the colliery was working at a loss and, after a period when it was leased to I.W. Baldwin, it was conveyed to the Wigpool Coal and Iron Co. Ltd in 1924. It closed in about 1927.


Hawkwell Colliery

Hawkwell Colliery worked the Small Profit gale, which included the Coleford High Delf and other seams in the Pennant Group (middle Upper Coal Measures). The first attempt to sink a shaft was abandoned in about 1846 due to an influx of water. A later attempt, which utilised a 50-inch Cornish pumping engine, was more successful when the Coleford High Delf (3ft 6in thick) was reached in 1876, the shaft reaching 452 ft. Devopment then began in earnest, and a siding off the Great Western Railway's Churchway Branch was laid in 1878. Newbridge Engine gale was acquired in 1885. By the 1890s there were problems with water ingress from surrounding gales and the colliery ceased working around 1895. Two shafts were re-opened in 1932 to provide ventilation and an emergency exit for Northern United Colliery. Very bad. Part of the tip has recently been washed for coal and the rest of the site is heavily overgrown. (June 2002)


Haywood Colliery

In 1841 the Haywood gale was awarded to Moses Teague, who, in association with William Crawshay, was opening a colliery there. The Coleford High Delf Seam (Pennant Group) was eventually worked from two cross-cuts in the shaft at depths of 210 ft and 362 ft. There were two high-pressure engines at work (10 in. winding and 18 in. pumping) and coal production rose from 1510 tons in 1841 to 5428 tons in 1845. After 1863 the colliery was served by Crawshay’s private tramroad, which ran from Buckshaft Iron Mine at Ruspidge to St Annals Iron Mine near Cinderford. The Littledean Woodside Coal Co. was formed by 1873 to work Haywood in conjunction with the Addis Hill and Smith’s Delight gales. A narrow-gauge (2 ft 7½ in.) railway connection to interchange sidings off the Whimsey Branch of the Great Western Railway’s Forest of Dean Branch was built at about this time. 2344 tons of coal were produced in 1880, but the company was soon in financial difficulties and went into liquidation in 1882. A new company, the Haywood Colliery Co. Ltd, was formed in 1886, but was wound up in 1888. The plant was auctioned off in 1890.


Help Me Through The World Inn

The former public house 'Help Me Through The World' is located at the junction of Staunton Road and Boxbush Road. The building is now delicensed. There are twin bay windows and above a large semi circular sign of at least five feet in diameter, which reads ' Help Me Through the World'. There is also an original West Country Ales ceramic plaque attached to the building. The building was being used as a public house, known as the Mason Arms Inn, as early as 1849. By 1867 the pub was renamed 'Help Me Through The World, but was again known as the Masons Arms by 1877. c 1900 the Masons Arms had a rateable value of £12 6s 0d and closed at 11pm.


Highmeadow Farmhouse

Highmeadow Farmhouse is about one mile along the road which branches from the Coleford to Newland road and goes to the Redbrook road..The house backs onto the road. It is a grade 11* listed building, having some late-mediaeval windows, probably reset, and a massive, carved porch roof support.


Holy Trinity Church Primrose Hill

The present building occupies the site of a corrugated iron mission church put up in 1903. The new brick church building was erected in 1931 on land donated by Lord Bledisloe. The architect for the new church was W.L. Ellery Anderson, and the builders were Billings & Son of Cheltenham. The bell and font were given as a gift to the church by the Vicar of Haresfield. The pulpit, which was installed in 1935, was a gift from Viscount Bledisloe and his wife.


Hopewell Engine Colliery

There was a colliery here in 1836, when Thomas and James Bennett (presumably the lessees) applied to erect a steam engine at 'Hope-Well Pit', although the gale had been held by James and Robert Morrell since 1822. The pit was open in 1863, and a connection was made with the Severn and Wye Railway's Milkwall (later Coleford) Branch. Sidings at Fetterhill, laid in 1875, served several collieries, including Hopewell Engine and Dark Hill. Like the latter, Hopewell presumably worked the Coleford High Delf Seam at the base of the Pennant Group (middle Upper Coal Measures). 4331 tons of coal were produced in 1880. A dispute arose with the Severn and Wye Railway in 1889-90 over workings causing damage to the line. In 1909 the colliery was up for sale, and by 1913 it was owned by the Parkend Deep Navigation Collieries Co. Ltd, who used it simply to protect their other interests from flooding. It was transferred to the Mapleford Colliery Ltd in 1928, but it is uncertain if any more work was done.


Hopewell in Wimberry Colliery

Hopewell in Wimberry (or Wimbelow) Colliery was owned by James Teague in the 1790s, and was in the hands of Peter Teague in 1841, when about 25 tons of coal per day were being produced from the Coleford High Delf Seam of the Pennant Group, via a level. The colliery was served by the Wimberry branch tramroad of the Severn and Wye Railway, built in about 1810. Production was 18858 tons in 1856, but only 1072 tons in 1888. It was still working in 1929, but probably closed soon after.


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