Middleton Park shaft mounds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Middleton Park shaft mounds
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 30304 29296, SE 30333 29028

Reasons for Designation

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 remains of coal mining earthworks at Middleton Park will include valuable technological evidence of 18th century mining operations, and are thought to retain details of shaft-top arrangements from this period which are rarely preserved. In addition, it is thought that information on medieval coal mining will be preserved beneath later remains. Such information is particularly rare nationally, and will add to the evidence of developing technology and organisation during this period. Documentation of mining activity survives from the medieval period and from the 18th century, providing an opportunity for an unusually complete and detailed study of the industry. The remains of waggonways will provide evidence for the transport system and organisation of coal mining. The site is in a country park, and the mining remains are highly accessible, giving them a valuable educational role.


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of colliery workings, including shaft mounds and waggonways, and lies within two separate areas in Middleton Park, an area of woodland approximately 1.5km south east of Beeston. The area was mined for coal from at least the 18th century, a period for which mining activity in the area is well-documented. Documentary evidence also indicates that the remains of medieval monastic coal working will be preserved as buried features beneath later features. The mining remains are concentrated around two broad paths, which are believed to overlie the 18th century waggonways associated with the colliery. The remains include a large number of shaft mounds and spoil heaps, whose concentrations provide evidence that the area was intensively worked. Some shafts have collapsed and are visible as large depressions of approximately 1m depth; others retain their characteristic shape, with a collar of spoil surrounding a central depression. In addition, some of the mounds include earthwork evidence of pit top features associated with haulage and drainage from the shafts. It is thought that these earthworks will include technological information on staging and winding arrangements at the shaft top, which will add to the understanding of organisation and technological development in the coal mining industry. The surfaces of footpaths and trackways 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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