Moorcroft Wood is a moderately sized public access nature reserve covering some 27 acres and is an amazing abandoned industrial landscape, which of great importance in terms of the overall industrial heritage of the Black Country. This is the site of the former Moorcroft Old Colliery, where sunken areas within parts of the woodland today are believed to be the locations of collapsed disused mine shafts. The underlying rocks are part of the coal measures, a division of the Carboniferous Period of the Earth’s history and are around 299 to 318 million years old.
The minerals mined here and used at the Moorcroft Iron Works, were combined with limestone from Walsall and Dudley to produce pig iron in huge blast furnaces. You can see evidence of the ironworks today as the maze of clinker rocks around the edges of Moorcroft Pool. By the beginning of the 20th century however all industrial activity on the site had ceased but huge boulders of industrial slag and clinker remain towering from its banks like frozen giants of a bygone industrial age. Here, the furnace slag dates from sometime between the 18th/19th centuries and those still present are now exceptionally rare features of very high historic significance.
Industry ended partly because very early mining methods had allowed the ground to become unstable and susceptible to flooding or fire, making them too expensive to mine.
The site was also quarried at the surface for glacial clay/sands and a brick works was established, with the remnants of the quarry sites now forming parts of the present pool. A network of canals was constructed to serve these industries and the open Walsall Canal still runs past the site today. Now free to be reclaimed by nature it has become a very important wildlife site especially for insects, amphibians and bats.
This is a very important historical and educational site and the area is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). It is also protected by planning and development control, legislation and and policy.
Collecting from the slag and clinker deposits or any of the other archaeological features is strictly forbidden.
There is a large free car park at the summit of the hill. There is currently no general visitor centre, cafe or toilet at the site, so plan your visit with this in mind.
The warden can be contacted for more information about events and guided walks from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Call + 44 (0)1922 654220.
Geosite 002 Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve - world renowned site and one of the best places to find fossils. Less than 1km from the museum. Call + 44 (0)1384 812785 - Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve.
Geosite 009 Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust - Singing Cavern Experience - take a canal narrow boat trip into the underground limestone mines. Call + 044 (0) 121 557 6265 - Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust.
Geosite 016 Walsall Arboretum – enjoy a walk around this former limestone mine which is now a restored parkland and arboretum just at the edge of the town centre in Lichfield Street, Walsall WS4 2BU – Call +44 (0)1922 654318 - Walsall Arboretum.
Geosite 020 The New Walsall Art Gallery - for a cultural experience with fine and contemporary art in a modern structure in the heart of the town centre is the acclaimed new Walsall Art Gallery, Gallery Square, Walsall, WS2 8LG. Call +44 (0)1922 654400 - The New Walsall Art Gallery.
Geosite 003 Barr Beacon Local Nature Reserve - 3 miles from Walsall Town Centre, is one of the highest points in the West Midlands. Offering spectacular panoramic views you can see surrounding landmarks. Call +44 (0) 1922 653344 - Barr Beacon Local Nature Reserve.