Coming together: Open day and community activities, 15th April 2017

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery had a busy and varied day this weekend. In addition to an Open Day at the colliery, Friends Director of Volunteering and Community Engagement, Christine, went to join in the exciting Elsecar Making History event held from 10 to 1pm at the Heritage Centre. The event brought together examples of local history materials from Barnsley Archives, together with an open invitation to visitors to bring their own records, letters, pictures and stories to share.

Back on site, Site Manager Glen opened the gates and was joined by regular volunteers Keith and Frank followed by newcomer Neil. Later volunteer Chris served to lend a hand, and later still we welcomed Andy and Luke.

Protecting our environment

The mission of the day was to start the process of erecting a new fence to secure the site.

Busying themselves during the morning with some heavy lifting, the Friends and Volunteers caught up with developments in and around Elsecar, and looked forward to many of the events which are coming up in the months ahead.

The first of which is the Elsecar Heritage Railway Beer Festival, 28th April-1st May, presented by Barnsley CAMRA and hosted by pout friends at the Elsecar Heritage Railway. Steam trains will be running on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Later in May, on Weds the 24th, there is a fantastic illustrated talk in the evening, at 7pm (£1 charge incl. refreshments) given by Dr Nigel Cavanagh, a supporter of the Friends, who will be giving a talk about Elsecar, Wentworth Woodhouse and the Fitzwilliams: Landscape, People & Industry.

Doing our bit

After lunch, the Friends headed down to Tingle Bridge, to join in with the Elsecar Canal Spring Clean, a community litterpick which began in the morning, organised by the Heritage Centre and provisioned by the Forge Community Partnership Tidy Team. Local people, visitors, and members of the Barnsley, Dearne & Dove Canals Trust came together to improve the appearance of the canalside. It’s easy for people to forget how fortunate we are to have such a green and pleasant canalside environment to enjoy. Earlier in the day visitors to Elsecar took part in a Nature Discovery Day event, organised by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, and guided by the Sorby Natural History Society experts, looking at the wildlife alongside the canal.

Proceeding down the canal footpath from the Elephant & Castle, at Tingle Bridge, the new litterpickers from the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery got to work, collecting the sadly considerable amount of rubbish tossed aside along the canal.

With groups working the length of the canal from Elsecar basin, right siren past Smithy Bridge and on to the Cortonwood end, there was a lot to pick up.

Under Smithy Bridge, in particular, there was a lot of unusual items, and the picking group stopped to haul out a coffee machine, two car seats, a bridleway sign, and various other bits and pieces.

At the end of the day, the organisers reported that 65 bags of rubbish, seven tyres and two supermarket trolleys had been collected from the canal and towpath between Elsecar and Cortonwood.

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