The International Steam Pages

The Dying Breed, Haywood Drift Mine 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Small scale mining in the Forest of Dean is an ancient right, those qualified as 'Freeminers' may mine almost anywhere in the Forest of Dean. The basic qualification is to be born within the Hundred of St Briavels and to have worked a year and a day in a mine under another Freeminer. For more information see:

While we were talking to Michael Ayland (Littledean Garden Railway) he mentioned that there was an active coal mine in the woods north of Cinderford and Steve Thomason (Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways) confirmed this as Haywood Drift Mine. It had long been on my list of 'things to do' but finally in late July 2012, I made the effort to check it out.

I walked my bike up Plump Hill and set off along the Forestry Commission track towards Cinderford and fortunately about half way along I met an old man walking his dog who told me exactly where it was and ventured the information that two men had been working there when he came past earlier. Alas, by the time I arrived, they had vanished but careful access to the site was no problem:

The adit is to the right and the winding house to the left: This is the winding house with a small pile of coal ready for sale:

Spoil is tipped at the back behind the winding house.

Note evidence of the lubrication system:

The actual adit was safely locked and outside it was what may be the entire operational fleet:

This is an alternative view of the wagons and a view of the rest of the surface rails:

An important safety feature is a 'catch' to prevent runaways vanishing back down below:

Out in the nearby 'long grass' was some reserve equipment:

Three days later, I brought Yuehong along but it didn't improve my luck, there was no sign that anything had moved in the interim.

A return visit at a very early date in the hope of seeing it actually working is right at the top of my hit list.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson