The Apedale Mine is located in the North Staffordshire Apedale Community Country Park, near to the village of Chesterton. Founded in 2001, it stands on the site of the Apedale Colliery which was closed in 1998. A heritage centre is run entirely by volunteers. Visitors to the centre can take part in a guided tour of the mine. However, there is restricted access and children under the age of five are not permitted to enter the underground workings. Warm clothing and sensible shoes are advised when visiting the mine.
As a mine it operated between 1850 and 1969 when it was closed down. Prior to nationalisation, the drift mine was run by the Shelton Iron, Steel and Coal Company. A railway link connected the mine to the Holditch and Silverdale collieries where coal from the Apedale mine was taken to be washed.
Apedale has a long history of mining from the early days of the industrial revolution. As the industrial revolution expanded so did the demand for coal. A number of deep mines operated in Apedale throughout the 19th and 20th centuries such as, Sladderhill Colliery, Wood Pit, Burley Pit and Watermills Colliery.
Apedale was a ‘footrail mine’ which means it was reached via an incline rather than a shaft that descends vertically into the ground. In its prime it employed around 140 miners and twice achieved national records for the highest output per man-shift. The mine was the last site to draw coal in North Staffordshire.
In 1885 there was a terrible gas explosion at the Burley Pit which was part of the Apedale Colliery claiming the lives of nine men. Around 200 men and young boys were employed at the colliery and this was not the first time disaster had struck. In 1878, a massive explosion was heard in the mine and 22 men and boys lost their lives. A terrible fire broke out and could not be extinguished. The fire raged on until it was decided the only way to put it out was to flood the mine. It took six months before the mine could be entered when the bodies of the miners were finally found and removed for burial.
The Apedale Heritage Centre is open throughout the week and has lots to offer its visitors. Some attractions are seasonal such as the Apedale Valley Light Railway which is operated by the Moseley Railway Trust. The railway operates from spring through to the autumn but is closed throughout the winter months.
A museum tells the history of the people who lived and worked during the time the mine was in operation and there is a preserved miner’s cottage. Because the heritage centre is run by volunteers opening times vary and some attractions might be closed during the week. The museum is open during weekends.
Apedale Community Country Park, is a haven for wildlife, spread over 184 hectares. It offers open spaces, woodland walks and landscaped gardens. Overlooking the park is a memorial in the form of a pit wheel dedicated to the mine workers of Staffordshire. This is featured in the header image above.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A53 (Rd), Blackshaw Grange, Blackshaw Moor, Leek
Staffordshire, England, ST13 8TL
+44 (0)1538 300 285
- Address: Apedale Heritage Centre, Loomer Road, Chesterton, Staffordshire, England, UK, ST5 7JS
- GPS: 53.03235833,-2.265702778
- Phone: 0044 (0)1782 565 050
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: ST5 7JS
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: No wheelchair access to mine tour
- Visibility from Road: Good (Heritage Centre)
- Image Credits: Header Image: Tony Brindley