Lofthouse Colliery 1873 -1981 

Coal has been mined in the Lofthouse and Outwood area since at least the early 1300s. Back then, the coal would have been extracted at out-crops near the surface in primitive ‘bell pits‘.

Extensive mining started in the early 19th century, when several small mines were opened in this area, helped along by the construction of  the nearby Aire and Calder Navigation, and then by the coming of the modern steam railways to Outwood in 1865. 

The coal boom of the early 1870s led to the formation of the Leeds and Yorkshire Co-operative Coal Mining Company (the only co-operative coal mining company in Britain).

Being so close to the Great Northern Railway, the pit was first named Lofthouse Station Colliery. Most of the miners lived in Outwood, which had cottages, chapels, pubs and a working men’s club.

The sinking of the two shafts to the Silkstone Seam (321m deep) began in 1873, and was completed in 1877. By 1895, the colliery was producing around 1000 tons of coal per day. The shafts were deepened to the Beeston Seam (401m deep) in 1911.

After World War ll, reconstruction included a new coal preparation plant and screens, a new heapstead, and 5 ton mine cars replacing the old tub system. Lofthouse was used as the Area Training Centre for Bevin Boys and youths from other pits in underground areas. 

In 1947, Lofthouse became part of the National Coal Board's North East Division.

The exhaustion of coal reserves led to Lofthouse Colliery being closed in 1981, with the loss of 900 jobs. The closure brought an end to over 650 years of coal mining in the Outwood area.


Lofthouse Colliery Action Group

Lofthouse Colliery Action Group is a group of local people who are passionate about Lofthouse Colliery Nature Parkand and get together to enhance it for wildlife and the people.

They work with Wakefield Council‘s Countryside team to carry out practical improvements. If you would like to help out, even for a couple of hours, please see their Facebook Page

Lofthouse Colliery Action Group.

Lofthouse Colliery Nature Park


Since it was restored in the late 1980s, Lofthouse Colliery Nature Park has changed constantly. The trees that were planted back then are now maturing into a varied woodland of native species, mostly birch but also willow, oak, ash, hazel and spindle.

Look out for bullfinches and great spotted woodpeckers all year round. In the summer, listen for cuckoos and blackcaps.

The pond (Illustrated above) has a variety of plants around it, including flowering rush and ragged robin. Bats feed over the water at dusk during the summer. 

The eastern bank of the pond is leased by Wakefield Angling Club. There is no fishing on the western bank, which is fenced off to give wildlife an undisturbed refuge.

There is an area of lowland heathland close to the railway line. This valuable habitat is a good place to look for lichens and invertebrates.

The footpaths around the Nature Park are named after the coal seams that were mined at Lofthouse Colliery. Look out for the wooden signs.

Horses and cyclists are welcome to ride through the site. Please keep to the main tracks and respect other users.

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