Tunnels & Mines of Winter Hill.
Wilderswood and Wildersmoor Mines.
These mines cover a vast area with a very complex tunnel system where it would be extremely easy to get lost! The main mine operated on two levels, each level with a different seam of coal. The two levels were Little Mine and Great Mine, Little Mine being some 25 feet above Great Mine.
The Wildersmoor Drift Mine was privately owned and extracted both coal and fireclay the main entrance (shown at the left) being the large drift entrance in the field just below Sportsmans Cottage.
The mine ceased operation in 1961.
It would not be prudent to give full diagrams of the complex on the web, but shown below is a plan of one tiny portion of Little Mine near to Sportsmans Cottage (the extreme top RH corner of the plan is a matter of yards from the Cottage and the boundary walls on the side of the road are marked on the plan as double lines).
The area shown on the map was worked between 1920 and 1947.
The main rock of the area is sandstone and the Little Mine coal seam is only about 10 inches thick but is underlaid with several feet of fireclay which was also extracted for use in Horwich.The average extraction of material was about 5 feet in height and the lower level of sandy fireclay was left in situ.
There were a number of entrances into Little Mine along with underground links into Great Mine.
The entrances have long since been filled in and sealed. It is left to your imagination as to how some of the photo's on this site were taken but no original entrances were breached.
The major entrances into Little Mine were of the adit variety and no shafts were involved although shafts do exist into parts of the overall system. The following pictures show the area south of Georges Lane.
One of the entrance adits is of a particularly awkward height as can be seen below!
Originally this adit was fitted with a rail track for extracting the coal. The track is still in place in parts and rusted parts of the tub wheels still remain.
After leaving the entrance tunnel, the headroom increases considerably and most areas of the mine have reasonable headroom. The roof is timbered in places, but many areas are self supporting.
Scambling along a timbered roadway near to Sportsmans Cottage
Other parts of the nine are bricked over for support.
Not all passages are easy to negotiate!
A tracked roadway near to Sportsmans cottage.
Considerable work has gone into manufacturing this stretcher. Guess what it's made from ........ inner tubes!!!!
View of a brick lined section in the Wilderswood tunnels ..... and YES ... before you ask ..... that IS the person you think it is on the right hand side of the picture - without his usual flat cap!
More about Wildersmoor tunnels (Northern Section)
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