Open Day and Working Party Weekend, Saturday 18th March

Another busy weekend on site, with the Friends and regular volunteers arriving bright and early to continue work on tidying the site and clearing the rubble.

Friends Chair Steve and site manager Glen opened the gates as the crew returned to their tools and continued the noble tousle twixt mankind and tree. They were joined by regular volunteers John, Alan, Nigel, and Chris.

Winch in the willows

Returning to the fray, the regular volunteers continues the digging, chopping and hauling of the reluctant sycamore stump in the rubble by the Wath Road boundary wall.

Hacking, pick work, chainsaw and some strategic winch work led to celebrations as the mighty stump finally gave.

Not quite “timber!” But just as satisfying: all gone. Team work in action.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on site, the tree-tackling took on a more manual tack, with Steve and Alan taking things into their own hands…

…sometimes quite literally. Here Friends Chair Steve retrieves the old (twentieth century) guard rail to the dilapidated wooden steps by the pumping engine headgear. This was still clinging on for dear life when the Friends took on the site, but unfortunately several energetic trespassers had managed to break the step platform altogether.

The day was a quietly busy and productive one, with snaptime bringing discussions of future plans, local news and reaffirming the great breadth of skills and knowledge that the regular volunteers bring to bear in their activities on and off site.

With the heavy lifting over. And tools being tidied away, the site was secured for another day. Our thanks indeed again to the Northern Mine Research Society (NMRS) which was an early and firm supporter to the group, supporting the provision of security shutters which continue to protect the site and keep it looking smart.

Voices from the Pit: Art and Nature at Hemingfield

On a completely different, but wonderfully creative note, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are delighted to celebrate the fantastic work of one of our regular volunteers, the artist Amanda Willoughby who has undertaken a fascinating and truly impressive art project inspired by the colliery site.

Entitled ‘Coal, Collapse and Colonisation‘, Amanda is drawing on the examples of how nature reclaims former man-made industrial sites; exploring the hidden beauty of the wide variety of plants which step in when humans abandon such places.

Amanda Willoughby at work on one of the pieces for Coal, Collapse and Colonisation

She has followed the Friends transformation of the site through the seasons, collecting plants, flowers and capturing images which have led to some beautiful pieces of art.

From when the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery and community volunteers took on the overgrown and almost impassable site, and steadily created useable space, so Amanda has selected elements from nature which have survived and flourished. Her work is a detailed and fascinating counterpoint to the story of neglect and vandalism the site suffered. Her illustrations focus on the natural beauty of the site; something we remain conscious of as we work to transform the delapidated pit into an important community asset and source of information on our mining heritage.

Her minutely detailed pieces remind us of the often hidden wonder of the natural world around us; a theme the area is once more exploring through the work of the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership.

Please follow the Coal, Collapse and Colonisation project page for the gallery of artwork bring produced through this exciting project, and to see the latest information about new work, discussions and future exhibitions.

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