Cockersdale watercourses and mills

The green spaces and places of Leeds
Si
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Postby Si » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 3:30 pm

A view of Cockersdale, looking towards Post Hill.
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Leodian
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Postby Leodian » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 3:36 pm

Si wrote:
Thanks Leodian. The black thing is a goat. That hill was covered in 'em.
Here's some more.


Cheers Si. Regular Smiley

The set of photographs show well how following an abandonment an area will soon be lost as nature takes over.
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.
Si
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Postby Si » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 4:07 pm

This is the missing picture from the post above.

Yes Leo. I should think that the valley floor would be unrecognisable to the mill workers of yesteryear.    
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jim
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Postby jim » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 7:07 pm

Great pics and write up from Si and a helpful map contribution from Phill.

Unfortunately in my haste and enthusiasm to impart my theoretical thinking I seem not to have been as clear in my explanation as I might have been, and Si has ended up with - somewhat in the manner of Eric Morecambe to Andre Previn - "All the right information - but not necessarily in the right order".

During our previous visit to the site we had noted a wall structure that seemed to me to be the remains of a rail-served staithe at the side of Dale Road. There didn't seem to be any way to get a railway in or out of the site so I filed the idea away in "things to cogitate on".

Late last year I acquired copies of the three major works on pre-locomotive worked railways. In "Stone Blocks and Iron Rails, Bertram Baxter, 1966 I found this relevant entry in the gazetteer:-

Drighlington. Tramroad "worked by machinery" (?power operated incline) from staithe in Cockersdale to Lower Collieries. No details known. Opened: 1810. Traffic: coal. O.S.: SE22NW: SE23SW.

Naturally this information set me thinking. I posted on S.L.to see if anyone could positively identify the site of Lower Collieries, but without success.

As Si has explained above, Whitehall Road crosses the valley here on a very considerable embankment, and it is almost certain that this was built as part of the works for the Whitehall Turnpike (Act 1826, work completed 1833) and that prior to the latter date New Lane and Old Lane would have constituted the through route. Access to the Dale would have been in the valley bottom, and the remnant of that access still exists to the north of the embankment as the side road leading from the foot of the Dale Road hill to reach several houses.

Looking at the old-maps 1852 sheet (references 423000, 429800) there was a track leading more or less south from the top of the Dale Road hill to join Old Lane. To the south of the Drighlington end of Old Lane a colliery is marked on this map, but it has gone by the dates of later maps.

The even slope of the Dale Road hill, and its configuration relevant to the track described, together with Old Lane itself and the colliery together make a convincing possible site for what is described in Baxter's gazetteer. Slopes are indeed steep, but the mention of "worked by machinery" would imply incline(s). At this date steam power would have been unlikely, but coal to Cockersdale would have allowed balanced inclines where descending loaded wagons could be connected by rope round a drum and brakewheel to haul empty wagons returning.

My next thoughts turned to the question of why such an investment would have been made to transport coal to such a small out of the way place as Cockersdale. I had considered iron working, but furnaces of the type requiring such a volume of coal would probably have left sufficient remains to show up on the 1852 map, and the staithe, even if foreshortened by dereliction, would not have reached the height necessary to form a furnace bank.

A most interesting chat with a local gentleman who had lived in the Dale for all his life elicited the information that coal had been worked above the west side of the dale, but poring over the maps reveals that that took place during the twentieth century, so can have no bearing on our puzzle.

I am afraid we can reach no positive conclusions about the railway, though what we conjecture seems to fit what information we have better than anything else. As to what was going on in the area surrounding Dale Road, we will just have to keep looking.

We did have fun though, didn't we Si? My thanks for the coffee and pork pie (an absolute belter) and when you find my wellies where I left them in your car, don't worry, I have a spare pair and I'm sure we will be in touch again eventually!

somme1916
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Postby somme1916 » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 7:32 pm

Si and jim:Thanks for your postings on the "trip"out yesterday....always great to get feedback.I was eagerly awaiting news from the day out and am now equally eager to ascertain whence said pork pie emanated from ! Sounds like a bonus to the days entertainment.
        
I'm not just anybody,I am sommebody !
Si
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Postby Si » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 8:35 pm

Hi Jim! Andy Preview here!
Yes, I found your wellies in the car. Will look after them.
Somme - the pork pies were from Middlemiss butchers, Otley.

I hope I got most of the story right!
I've since noticed that, according to Google Earth, the line of the possible track that we observed from Old Lane crossing that field toward the small modern brick building on Whitehall Road, is exactly in line with Dale Road opposite, the gradient leading down to Cockersdale, and could have been in use before and after the embankment was built. What do you think?

PS One other thing which was of interest - there was an old rusted tap poking out of the path beside the beck, well into the woods. It had the remains of a stone or concrete square surround buried in the path.
Further on, we came across another, again in the middle of the path, but this time with a small iron sign, which read, "H.P.G.M." with a bunch of numbers - high pressure gas main, we guessed.
So at some point, the gas board have been down Cockersdale, digging a trench under the path, and laying the gas pipe. When would this have been done, and to who (and where) were they supplying the gas? I have a feeling it was laid well after the mills had gone...
    
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tilly
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Postby tilly » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 9:10 pm

A great read you two i felt i had been with you, sounds like there could be scope for another trip at some time.We will see if our sluth Jim comes up with more information There has been a lot more going on in this valley than we thought.
No matter were i end my days im an Hunslet lad with Hunslet ways.
jim
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Postby jim » Mon 23 Jul, 2012 10:40 pm

Si wrote:
I hope I got most of the story right!
I've since noticed that, according to Google Earth, the line of the possible track that we observed from Old Lane crossing that field toward the small modern brick building on Whitehall Road, is exactly in line with Dale Road opposite, the gradient leading down to Cockersdale, and could have been in use before and after the embankment was built. What do you think?


Hi Si. You did a great job on writing it up, but I felt I should clarify my original thought processes that led to this expedition and expand on them.

I saw exactly what you did regarding the Dale Road/possible track alignment, but forgot to mention it. It is also to be seen in the trackway shown on the 1852 OS map, and I have seen a satellite view where crop marks suggesting its route can be detected with an eye of faith. I also agree with you on the "before and after" question you present, in fact the level of the turnpike at this point may have been governed by a possible existing tramroad, which later became the present Dale Road hill.

Tilly, I can see us taking this walk again with or without new ideas. The more people who look at this landscape and come up with their own ideas the better - and it has been good fun and good company, so it will bear repeating until we all get fed up.

As a follow up to all this, on top of the four mill sites we found during our earlier visits, there is a definite mill site to the south of Whitehall Road, and the 1852 OS map shows three ponds which may or may not have been the sites of further mills between Whitehall Road and the junction of the south/north beck with the west/east beck further down Dale Road. If all these sites turn out to be positive, we could have as many as eight mills in the part of Cockersdale south of Tong Road/Lane at one time or another.    

anthonydna
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Postby anthonydna » Tue 24 Jul, 2012 12:07 pm

"So at some point, the gas board have been down Cockersdale, digging a trench under the path, and laying the gas pipe. When would this have been done, and to who (and where) were they supplying the gas?"

Not sure when but I reckon it was within the last 10-15 years, I remember seeing it on a walk. There has always been a lot of gas pipes down there though, from memory I remember a large one going under one of the bridges.
geoffb
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Postby geoffb » Tue 24 Jul, 2012 1:57 pm

anthonydna wrote:
"So at some point, the gas board have been down Cockersdale, digging a trench under the path, and laying the gas pipe. When would this have been done, and to who (and where) were they supplying the gas?"

Not sure when but I reckon it was within the last 10-15 years, I remember seeing it on a walk. There has always been a lot of gas pipes down there though, from memory I remember a large one going under one of the bridges.



When I worked at Tingley gas works all the liquid ammonia (called liquor) was sold to a chemical works to Brothertons on Ings Road in Wakefield. Tingley acted a a storage centre for this liquor as this was piped from Birksall Works in Bradford, then piped from Tingley to Wakefield. I can recall this pipework being decomissioned in the 70s, I can also recall the pipe running adjacent to the beck by Fullneck golf course, there were numerous man holes along this route, they are probably still there, And crossed Whitehall Road adjacent to the New Lane junction.

This is probably the marker posts for this main.

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