Discovering the Five Pits trail (5th March 2024)

Twenty four members of our group gathered in the Williamthorpe nature reserve car park. Although this location appeared to be quite a long journey from Dronfield, it only took 20 minutes to get there. The walk was one of the many routes available on the five pits trail. Derbyshire County Council created the Five Pits Trail in 1989, following the route of the former Great Central Railway which served the five main coal mines of Grassmoor, Williamthorpe, Holmewood, Pilsley and Tibshelf.

Ted, our leader, was delighted to see such a good turnout and after a brief safety chat we set off walking alongside the main ponds in the reserve. We continued on the trail, crossing the A6175 and passing between Holmewood and an industrial estate. Ted gave us some great nuggets of information along the way about the Great Central railway and the fact that water in the fishing ponds is pumped from one of the old mines, meaning that it was relatively warm, making it an ideal environment for the fish and other forms of wildlife.

We soon reached the picnic area where we had our coffee break. After the break we once again crossed the A6175 passing close to North Wingfield. On reaching the interestingly named Wolfie pond, we took a right turn that would take us back towards the nature reserve. Given the recent muddy conditions we have experienced we were very glad of the good tracks used for the walk.

Many thanks to Ted for leading us.