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History of the Nature Park

A Mining Heritage

In 1890 shafts were sunk for a new colliery at Walton, and the mine developed rapidly, benefiting from the good railway and canal networks. By 1959 the Colliery employed 1,285 men underground, 298 on the surface with a daily output of 2,200 tons. Formerly known as Sharlston West, the name survived nationalisation in 1947, but it was later changed to Walton Colliery. In 1890 Pit dwellings were built for the miners at Walton Colliery. These were called Ings Cottages. An “Ing” is a low-lying area of land prone to flooding –hence the houses were built on Spike “Island” and were known locally as the Spike. 48 houses were built in 4 blocks of 12. “Spike Islanders”- was a colloquial term for the people who lived on Spike Island. Sweet peas and lupins are found in abundance in this area of the park.
Walton Colliery Disaster- 22nd April 1959 an explosion occurred and 5 men lost their lives.
The colliery eventually closed December 3rd 1959