Point of Ayr was the last deep pit in North Wales, closing in 1996. Coal had been mined there from deep beneath the seabed for over a hundred years, warming homes and fuelling industry in Wales, Ireland and parts of England. Commercial mining began in 1890 and the colliery quickly became a major employer.
It has long been known as the ‘forgotten pit’, often overlooked in favour of the bigger South Wales pits although it was hugely important in the local area. Life revolved around the pit in communities such as Ffynnongroyw, Gwespyr, Mostyn and Gronant. There is nothing at the former colliery site to explain its significance to visitors and it has a somewhat derelict feel, although it is close to the Wales Coast Path and cycle route and many people pass by.
Point of Ayr Community Heritage Group (POACH) is determined that the mining heritage is not forgotten. They are working in partnership with Flintshire Countryside Service who have secured a £40,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery fund ensure that visitors and locals will understand they are on the site of the former Point of Ayr Colliery.
John Wiltshire, who is Chairman of POACH, said:
We are all really excited to bring the mine back to life, and to educate both local people and visitors about the mine’s importance, not just locally, but also to the heritage of Wales as a whole.
The project includes a waymarked circular trail with a series of interpretation panels and a leaflet, plus for those who prefer to use smartphones and i-pads there will be an app packed with images and audio.
A focal point will be one of the restored colliery winding wheels that will be mounted alongside the Coast Path. The wheel was saved from destruction by Stuart Tomlins of the Shropshire Mines Trust, who salvaged it when the mine was closed and the machinery scrapped. Stuart transported the wheel up to Flintshire for restoration on 23rd April and called in at to the mining heritage day that was being held at Dangerpoint. The photos show the surprise and joy on the old miners’ faces when they saw it!
Another visual reminder will be a pit pony sculpture being created by local sculptor, Mike Owens whose own taid was a miner. It’s been exciting to see the sculpture take shape and we can’t wait to see it in situ.
The wheel and sculpture will be unveiled as part of an Open Day on Sunday 23rd July at Dangerpoint. For more information about the project please e-mail Lorna Jenner: firstname.lastname@example.org or John Wiltshire: email@example.com
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