This geosite is a classic coal mining landscape of the Black Country and a very important industrial canal junction that even today provides a vital link along the inland waterways to areas beyond the Black Country for tourism and commerce.
It is situated on the southern face of the Rowley Hills and straddles the border between the boroughs of Dudley and Sandwell. It offers superb views across the south of the geopark and beyond to the Clent, Abberley and Malvern hills of Worcestershire. The tall chimney of Cobb's Engine House is testament to the site's industrial past, along with the Netherton Canal Tunnel.
The area was once covered with industry including factories, boat yards, coal mines, blast furnaces, iron works, timber yards, brick kilns. Cobb's Engine House (properly known as Windmill End Pumping Station) is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II listed building built around 1831. It housed a stationary steam pump and used to pump water firstly from Windmill End Colliery and later mines in the area. Utilising a shaft 525 deep, 1,600,000 litres of water were pumped from the mines into the canal daily. It ceased work in 1928 and the Newcomen type engine was moved to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan 1930.
The adjacent Netherton Canal Tunnel was the last canal tunnel to be built in Britain during the great canal building age from 1750-1860. The ceremonial 'first sod' of the earthwork was turned by Lord Ward the Earl of Dudley on 31 December 1855 and the canal opened on 20 August 1858.
The site has a car park nearby, many footpaths, a countryside leaflet, interpretative signage, a friends group and a visitor centre at Bumble Hole. It hosts the popular Black Country Boating Festival each September.
Bumble Hole has a visitor centre with small café, gift shop, leaflets and toilet facilities. A small car park is located nearby. Guided walk and talks are available. Call 44 (0) 1384 814100.
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Geosite Dudley Zoological Gardens to explore and 11th century Castle and Zoo visit + 44 (0) 1384 215313 - Dudley Zoological Gardens.
Geosite Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust to take a trip into the underground limestone mines visit +44 (0) 121 557 6265 - Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust.
Geosite Dudley Museum at The Archives, the geosite headquarters for all information relating to the aspiring Black Country Global Geopark - Dudley Museum at The Archives.