The industrial heritage of Wigan area is well renowned as being one of the richest in the country but left many ugly scars on the landscape. Most of these have now, thankfully, been removed and large areas have been transformed into extensive green spaces, parks and woodlands (see the Greenheart Regional Park project). However, in order not to totally lose this heritage, we are currently embarking on a couple of projects to identify an record archaeological features left behind in these spaces.
The Wigan Coal and Iron Company, as reported in our April 2013 Newsletter, was a huge enterprise operating on the north side in Higher Ince. Starting life as the Kirkless Hall Coal and Cannel Company, by the end of the 19th century it was reputed to be one of the largest steel works in Europe. However, after the First World War, demand for steel was in decline and production ceased on the site in 1930. Much of the area remained derelict but in recent years attempts have been made to clean it up. A large part has been turned into an industrial estate, but the rest the rest has been allowed to return to nature and is now a significant nature reserve. In 2012 we were asked by the Lancashire Wild Life Trust and the newly formed Friends of Kirkless to investigate the site – you can see details of activities here.
The Pingot Valley site is a much smaller proposition being just a small valley just to the south of Lamberhead Green near Pemberton. Our attention was drawn here a couple of years year by Derek Winstanley who noticed remains of the old lime kiln that was marked on the 6 inch OS map of 1849. A site visit last year (see our December 2012 Newsletter) proved that there was much to this site than good be initially seen. Map and documentary research has revealed that a small community once lived there including a well that once supplied the whole area with fresh water. Our object is to identify and record a much as we can – you can see details of activities here.