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Coal mining remains in Lount Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.7651 / 52°45'54"N

Longitude: -1.4376 / 1°26'15"W

OS Eastings: 438045.15952

OS Northings: 318759.720091

OS Grid: SK380187

Mapcode National: GBR 6GV.PC8

Mapcode Global: WHDHL.WRMK

Entry Name: Coal mining remains in Lount Wood

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018465

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31757

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Breedon-on-the-Hill St Mary and St Hardulph

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The monument lies in woodland approximately 850m south west of the village of
Lount. It includes the earthworks and buried remains of coal mines in Lount
Wood.
The surface remains on the site are typical of medieval coal workings and take
the form of a vertical shaft dug down to the coal seam, from the base of which
coal is cut out in all directions until the unsupported roof is in danger of
collapse, giving the pits a bell-shaped profile. Densely clustered hollows
representing the closely-spaced pits are associated with mounds of spoil
thrown up from the initial cutting of the shaft. The monument includes
intensively pitted areas, a typical pit being between 1m-1.5m deep and 1.5m-3m
wide.
In these areas spoil heaps are not clearly defined, but slump into one another
as a result of continued backfilling and reworking. In the most heavily worked
areas, immediately adjacent to the road, this creates the impression of an
undulating bank, rather than a succession of individual pits. These workings
follow a north east to south west alignment, evidently working a coal seam
parallel to the road. Further north, the pits are more widely spaced, but
still concentrated in certain areas. The form of the earthworks indicates a
date earlier than the mid-15th century. The pits will preserve valuable
technological details, including information on extraction, transport and
haulage methods during an important early period in the coal mining industry.
All modern fences and the surfaces of tracks are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000
coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war
nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four
coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national
archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of
national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a
comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the
industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.
Extensive coal workings are typical of the medieval and post-medieval coal
industry, although this style of exploitation continued into the early 20th
century in some marginal areas which were worked on a very small scale with
little capital investment. In its simplest form extensive workings took coal
directly from the outcrop, digging closely spaced shallow pits, shafts or
levels which did not connect underground. Once shallower deposits had been
exhausted, deeper shafts giving access to underground interconnecting
galleries were developed. The difficulties of underground haulage and the need
for ventilation encouraged the sinking of an extensive spread of shafts in the
area worked. The remains of extensive coal workings typically survive as
surface earthworks directly above underground workings. They may include a
range of prospecting and exploitation features, including areas of
outcropping, adits and shaft mounds (circular or sub-circular spoil heaps
normally with a directly associated depression marking the shaft location). In
addition, some sites retain associated features such as gin circles (the
circular track used by a horse powering simple winding or pumping machinery),
trackways and other structures like huts. Some later sites also retain
evidence of the use of steam power, typically in the form of engine beds or
small reservoirs. Extensive coal mines vary considerably in form, depending on
the underlying geology, their date, and how the workings were originally
organised. Sites can include several hundred shafts spread over an extensive
area.
Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this
has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England
to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and
characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north
Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the
better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and
technological range of extensive coal workings, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The well-preserved shaft mounds and earthwork formations in Lount Wood
demonstrate that these early coal mining remains have survived without
disturbance by later workings, and will contain valuable technological
information on cutting and other aspects of the medieval coal mining industry.
The Lount Wood monument is one of several in the historic mining area of
Coleorton, each of which preserves a distinctive period or type of working and
which together represent a cross-section of mining techniques from the
medieval period to the late 20th century. It will contribute to an
understanding of coal mining technology and organisation employed, it is
thought, from at least the 14th century.

Source: Historic England

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