Coal mines

The Forest of Dean has at its centre a coal measure: coal has been mined here for centuries, though it's difficult to say when it started as charcoal and "seacoal" were both indiscriminately referred to as "coal" in early references. Mined coal then became "sea coal" - presumably because the first seams to be mined were those laid bare by the action of the sea on cliffs. However H G Nicholls, in his 1858 book "The Forest of Dean" says (page 230)

The first notice seems, however, to be that supplied by the records of the Justice Seat held at Gloucester in 1282, where it is stated that sea coal was claimed by six of the ten bailiffs of the Forest of Dean.

You could buy coal from the Forest of Dean until quite recently.

There is an article on the Free Miners of the Royal Forest of Dean

There's a page on Forest of Dean Coal mining

Coal Seams

There are several named coal seams identified on the geological map. In sequence from the forest centre outwards (i.e. from the top downwards - most recent are in the centre of the forest, top of the list) the major seams are listed below:

The geology of the Forest of Dean is such that the strata are shaped like a basin, with the centre of the forest depressed and the various strata breaking the surface in succession as you get further away from the centre. Thus the original coal mines were effectively linear open seams which surfaced in certain areas. Here the coal was surface mined and these linear workings hardly had separate pits. Some examples are identified in H G Nichol's book:

There are several "Delves" shown on the maps where such coal was mined at an early date.

Coal mines

Identifying individual mines is difficult because here have been so many. At on time 10,000 people worked in the mines of the forest. Also, underground many of the mineseventully met up as they mined the seams. Some of the identifiable coal mines and pits are lited below with map references. Of course collieries extend a long way underground, sometimes meeting with each other, so map references are generally the shafts, buildings or other access points as best they can be located. Some of the named mines are:

Colliery nameReferencesMap referenceGlos HERGrid Reference
Addis Hill Colliery    
Arles Level    
Arthur and Edward or Waterloo    
Arthur's Folly    
As You Like It Pit    
Ash Pit    
Bailey Hill Colliery    
Beech Avenue    
A deep pit    
Birchill Deep Level    
Bixlade Free Mine    
Blackthorn's Pit    
Bonnet Pit    
Brick Pit or Moseley Green New Engine Colliery.T2-6SO 630 083  
Brittania Colliery    
Broad Moor colliery    
Broming Hold    
Brookall Ditches Colliery.T2-9SO 617 088  
Broominghold Colliery    
Broominghold Pits    
Brunswick Pit    
Buckholt Level.T3-7SO 603 123  
Bush Pit on Shaft    
Cannop Colliery.T3-8 SO 618 125  
Link is to a walk in Cannop. This deep mine was still active in 1953.  
Cannop drift mine. A still active free mine. T3-7SO 603 125  
Castlemain Shaft    
Catch Candle CollieryCNQAA 10545364803 215760
Chapel Quarrryn Pit    
Churchway CollieryT1-7, CNQAASO 641 1549981363980 215355
Churchway Shatf    
Cinderford Bridge Colliery    
Clements End Tump Colliery.    
Coal and Iron were mined here and there are deep pits in the woods  
Coalway Hill     
Coal Pit Hill     
Croesus Pit     
Cross Knaves     
Crown Colliery    
Crump Meadow Colliery, CinderfordT1-13SO 639 138  
Closed 1929. A pond and a spoil heap survive.
Dan's Level    
Dark Hill    
Deans Meend    
Deep Pit    
Deep Speedwell    
Defender coal pitCNQAA none364530 215395
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
DelvesCNQAA 27625 
DippleCNQAA none364244 215636
Dodsmoor Colliery    
Drybrook Coal Level    
Duck. T1-10SO 648 152  
East Slade Colliery SO 629 162  
East Slade Pit     
Eastern United Colliery, Ruspidge SO 648 113  
Eastern United Drift     
Ellwood Green     
Ellwood New     
Engine Ditch Pit     
Farmer's Folly     
Flourmill Colliery, Bream     
Fire Engine Colliery.    
In the bottom between Nail Bridge and Cinderford bridge. Working around 1778. 
Folly Pit    
Foxes Bridge Colliery, Cinderford. T1-14SO 640 134  
Free Miner's Follies    
Gentlemen Colliers    
George's Folly    
Gin Pit    
Hamblins Yorkley Freemine    
Hamblin's Gale    
Hang Hill    
Harmony Colliery    
Harrow Hill Colliery    
Hawkwell CNQAASO 643 15910540364300 215900
Where is a photo of Hawkwell colliery on SunGreen
Haywood Colliery.  SO 659 151  
Hillers Land    
High Delf Engine Colliery    
Holly Barn    
Hopewell Engine colliery. SO 603 114  
Now a mining museum. with its own web site
Hopewell Mapleford Colliery. T3-4SO 602 105  
Horse Engine pits.T2-5SO 631 085  
Horse Gin Colliery    
Horse Wheel Pit    
Howbeach Colliery.T2-3SO 639 088  
Howler's Slade    
Independance Pits 1 & 2    
Independent Level    
Ivy Moor Head Colliery    
Jarret's Pit    
Jupiter Colliery    
Knockley Stump    
Lady's Slad Freemine    
Land Royal Colliery    
Leather Land Pit    
Lightmoor colliery, Cinderford. T1-15SO 642 121  
The 1953 map shows spoil heaps but no mine. 
Link's Delight Pit    
Little Brockhollands    
Little Britain    
Lonk Level    
Lower Lady's Slad Freemine    
Luck's All Pit    
Lydbroook D. Level    
Meadow Cliff colliery.T1-5SO 634 151  
Meerbrook Drainage Level    
Mile End    
Miles Water Level    
Monument colliery.     
In Cannop, about 1/2 mile south of Hopewell.  
Morses Level.T2-4SO 640 088  
Moseley Green New Engine Colliery, or Brick Pit.T2-6SO 630 083  
Mountpleasant CollieryCNQAA 12700 364170 215460
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
Mule Pit    
Mushett's Old Furnace Level    
Nelson. T1-4SO 634 149  
Never Fear CollieryCNQAA 9980363800 215320
New Boson. T1-8. CNQAASO 644 1529976364400 215100
A deep mine into the Coleford High delf seam. Closed 1925 
New Bridge Engine    
New Engine    
New Fancy Colliery, Parkend. T2-1SO 628 097  
New Found out    
New Furnace Level    
New Mount Pleasant Coal PitCNQAA 12703364430 215390
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
New Regulation    
New Road Level    
New Speedwell Colliery    
New Thatch    
New Whitecroft Colliery    
Never Fear. Active in 1858.    
No Luck At All   
Nofold CollieryCNQAA 21978364360 215520
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
Norchard Colliery    
Norchard Drift    
Northern United Colliery, Cinderford. T1-6, CNQAASO 938 1554357363800 215500
This was the last deep mine to be opened in the Forest and was also the last to be closed, in 1965.
A number of the buildings survive.
Oaken Coal Level    
Oakwood Bottom Colliery    
Old Beech Colliery    
Old Croft Level    
Old Engine Coal Pit    
Old Fire Engine    
Old Foxes Bridge    
Old Mill    
Old Sling    
Old Speculation    
Old Thatch    
Oldcroft Colliery    
Paragon Deep Pit    
Parkend Colliery Castlemain shaftT2-7SO 619 089  
Pastor Hill    
Pearce's Shaft    
Prosper. Active in 1858.    
This is on the opposite side of the road to Hopewell colliery. Still an active mine. Connected underground to Hopewell colliery. 
Pillowell Level    
Princess Royal Colliery, Bream    
ProtectionCNQAA none364410 215389
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
Ready MoneyCNQAA none364281 215564
Regulator No.4 T1-11SO 649 149  
Richard Winter    
Royal Forester    
Rose in Hand Collieyy T3-10SO 615 118  
Ruardean colliery.  SO 638 156  
Was still active in 1953. 
Rush PitCNQAA 21979364600 215650
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
Saint Vincent    
Smith's Delight    
Small ProfitCNQAA none364441 216053
Speech House Hill colliery. T3-8SO 615 119  
Speculation. T1-1SO 614 135  
Spero. Active in 1858.    
Squib coal pitCNQAA none364582 215475
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s
Standfast Colliery. T2-8SO 617 083  
Strip-And-At-It colliery. Active in 1858. T1-3SO 624 146  
The Delves, Cinderford.    
Trafalgar Colliery, Cinderford. Closed 1925. T1-2SO 625 144  
Tump PitCNQAA 12926364650 215760
Union Colliery. T3-2SO 602 102  
United colliery.  SO 638 155  
Valllet's Level    
Waterloo or Arthur & Edward SO 609 151  
Wellington Colliery.T2-2SO 635 096  
Well Level    
Whitelea LevelT3-11SO 613 105  
Wimberry Colliery T3-6SO 603 122  
Whimsey. T1-12SO 648 147  
Winners. Active in 1858.    
Winner or Winning Colliery T1-9, CNQAASO 644 150998236400 214900
Winning land    
Winning Deep    
Worrall Hill    
Young Colliers PitCNQAA 22704364590 215530
The area which included this mine was subject to open-cast extraction in 1960s and 1970s


T1-xxThe Speculation trail The rambler's Association in collaboration with the Forest of Deam Local History Society have produced these three leaflets of mine trails which take in many of these mines.
T2-xxThe New Fancy Trail
T3-xxCannop Ponds trail
CNQAACinderford Northern Quarter Archaeological Assessment

There is a page listing mine locations as listed in the book "The Mines of the Forest of Dean" by Tony Oldham

There is a page listing many of the Forest of Dean mines in 1938.

David E Bick's book The Old Industries of Dean has photographs of several of the above collieries and mre information as well as information and photographs of some of the old iron works, mines, quarries and other industries in the area.

H G Nicholls book lists the following:

H G Nichols reports that there were 121 coal-pits (31 of which were not then in work) in the forest in 1778. There were 221 pits at the close of 1856, yielding 460,432 tons. The ten largest were:

Park End Colliery86,973
Light Moor86,508
Crump Meadow41,507
Bix Slade26,792
The Nelson24,539
Hopewell in Whimberry18,858
Valletts Level17,918
Arthur and Edward12,857
New Strip and at it11,502

Peak District Mines Historical Society has a list of coal mines open in 1896.

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Page first published: 6th July 2009
Last modified: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:31:11 GMT
Written by and © Richard Torrens.