Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Winlaton Mill - from iron foundry and coke works to nature conservation

Looking at this scene at the Derwent Country Park at Winlaton Mill near Gateshead, it's hard to imagine that this was once the site of Crowley Iron Works foundry. 

The original foundry was established in the late 17th. century, using water power from the river Derwent via nine water wheels. Its main product was wrought iron. Ambrose Crowley also built a model village here to houses his workers and the whole enterprise eventually became the largest of its kind in Europe. Next to it lay the Derwenthaugh Coke Works, which was closed in 1986. 

For pictures of the coke works, click here and here

Since then the site has been landscaped to become the Derwenthaugh Country Park and most of the scars have been healed by nature, with wetlands, meadows and miles of footpaths. The wooded river Derwent valley that passes through the site was chosen as the location of the highly successful red kite reintroduction programme.

You can download a walkers' guide to the park by clicking here

You can find more information about the industries that once occupied this site at: