Pleasley Pit – Pleasley, England - Atlas Obscura

Pleasley Pit

Pleasley, England

This park and coal mine heritage site is home to two of the last steam winding engines in the UK.  

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Pleasley Pit is a former coal mine at Pleasley in Derbyshire, England. It was originally sunk during the 1870s. This remarkable site was saved from dereliction by a team of dedicated volunteers, who preserved and restored the two magnificent steam winding engines famous to the site. They were once used to move both coal and miners up and down the two shafts. One of these enormous machines was constructed in 1904, the other in 1922. Mining operations ceased in 1983, but for several years, one of the shafts remained open to aid in the ventilation of a nearby connected mine.

Pleasley Pit is actually split into two parts, the engine house heritage centre, and the surrounding park and nature reserve. The sites are linked seamlessly by several walking and biking trails based on the former railway network. The park and linked trails are owned and operated by Derbyshire County Council. The heritage centre is owned and operated by two charities, The Land Trust and Friends of Pleasley Pit. Restoration of the mine began in 1995.

The park includes artificially crafted bodies of water intended to maximize biodiversity. There are also several footpaths around the park that are wheelchair accessible and link to the extended walking trails. The crown jewel of the park however is the old engine house.

Volunteers around the site are very informative and helpful. The two magnificent winding engines provides a glimpse into heavy engineering from early 20th century Britain. 

The equipment at the head of the No. 2 shaft is almost complete and displays the various complexities of surface operations at British coal mines. The engine house is also used as a repository for mining artifacts from other nearby mines, such as a late 20th-century electric winding engine controller. There are also several recreated displays such as the lamp room, a stable that was used for the small pit ponies, and a coal face, prepared for blasting to free the coal. 

Know Before You Go

Café on site. The Heritage Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Free admission, donations requested. Park open 24 hrs. Free parking.

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Dr Alan P Newman
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