The Healing Hand Of Nature

A wonderful display of bluebells growing where once there was pit spoil and desolation

A wonderful display of bluebells growing where once there was pit spoil and desolation

It lies on the edge of the Coleorton valley, 30 acres or so of  woodland surrounding a green hill that can be seen from far away. A quiet and pleasant spot that is just one of several such sites reclaimed from old colliery workings and forming part of the National Forest.
They have given it a name, Lount Nature Reserve, but to those that live nearby and remember the days of New Lount Colliery it is still the pit yard and recall trains crossing Melbourne Road, the spoil heap smouldering, dust drifting, dirty washing …
It is more than 50 years since the pit head was in spin and the colliery buildings demolished though if you look carefully you can still see parts of what was once the canteen floor, carpeted now with brambles, raspberry canes and alder.
Coal may have been king, but only the gods truly endure and with the death of the black monarch it is a green goddess that is reclaiming her own, stretching out a healing hand to sooth the hurt of decades.
Through the cracking concrete pushed the young shoots of birch and oak to grow, with the passing of years, into cathedral arches, though there is none of the stilted, rarefied atmosphere of a church beneath these parochial boughs.
Instead, at this growing time of year, a raw and naked energy seems to pulse through every step you take, almost as if the one purpose of the green mistress is to repair the rape of the black king, covering his bloody prints with the frail beauty of woodland flowers and filling the air with the squeaky song of willow warbler, the manic call of green woodpecker, the annoyingly persistent cooing of doves and other songs from a myriad of small birds who make their home here.
There are path ways and tracks that wind their way amongst the trees and here and there can be found rail lines and other bits of rusting mechanical gear.
Slowly but surely, this debris of the black king is being lovingly buried by grasses and bulrushes and ground ivy, their graves marked by the seasonal passing of snowdrops and violets, periwinkle and orchids and other wayside flowers whose names bare the beautiful innocence of children.
It is a steep ascent from the pit yard to the top of the old pit bank, but the view is worth the climb, day or night. Westwards and northwards there are trees and more trees though the not-so-distant hum of the A42 is an irritating reminder that the 21st century is not so far away.
To the east and south lie scattered Coleorton, the Lilliput kingdom of Worthington and on the horizon, Breedon Church stands against the skyline marking the point of a Ley line if you believe in such things, and in the further distance the cloud-making towers of Ratcliffe power station smudge the horizon.
Once this was a barren place of stone and shale and clay, but now transformed by the money of opencast mining in nearby Spring Wood, the bank is a wide and pleasant expanse of undulating moor land interspersed with clumps of mixed woodland trees and three ponds that provide a home for a variety of water fowl.
The highest point of the bank is marked by a ring of trees and there is a feeling that this should be a ring of stones for there is a mystical holiness about this place that catches at the throat and makes the blood pulse a little faster.
Though there is never any doubt that this landscape owes its existence to the hand of man, you only have to gaze at a wild, winter sunset or watch the clouds stream out of the west in a summer storm to know that the green goddess is slowly making it her own and for one feel privilege to live under her hand.


About SueK

Author, freelance writer and small scale farmer.
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2 Responses to The Healing Hand Of Nature

  1. Avatar Ann Williams says:

    A beautiful description, Sue. It always amazes me how quickly nature recolonises abandoned sites and creates new havens for wildlife. I’ve visited many such places and the contrast of their present peacefulness with the hustle and bustle of industry from the past always resonates.

    • SueK SueK says:

      You are so right Ann. The nature reserve is almost next door to our house and I remember it well when the pit closed. It was quite desolate and few people went there. Now it is a lovely area which is used regularly and is full of flowers and wild life. I’m glad to say, in the end nature triumphs.

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