Moorcroft Wood is a moderately sized public access nature reserve covering some 27 acres and is an amazing abandoned industrial landscape, which is 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 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.
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