Introduction & Brief History Walton Colliery Nature Park occupies a large parcel of land between Shay Lane and Oakenshaw Lane. It is bounded on three sides by railway lines and on the fourth by Shay Lane. Much of the park is in Walton's neighbouring Parish of Crofton; both villages now enjoy the use of this magnificent amenity. The nature park was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2008.
Walton has a long history of coal mining, with documentary evidence of estate and field names dating local mining activities back to the 17th century.
In the late Victorian period, mining works concentrated on a seam found on the Walton Hall Estate (home of the Waterton family). Shortly afterwards, a depression in the coal mining industry meant that the mining company went into liquidation.
A new shaft at Walton was sunk in 1890 and the mine developed rapidly, benefiting from the good railway and canal networks. Initially the pit was called Sharlston West Colliery*. Coal production ceased on 3rd December 1979. Despite a large part of the site being in the parish of Crofton, the pit bore the name of the smaller village of Walton.
[sources: the Trans Pennine notice board at the Nature Park and Peter Wright's "A History of Walton".]
* The Sharlston pits.
New Sharlston Colleries Ltd. operated the following collieries:
The Sharlston Haigh-Moor Pit,
The Sharlston Stanley-Main Pit,
The Sharlston West Pit (later to become Walton Colliery or Pit),
The Haw-Park Pit.
■ To find out a little bit more about the old Walton Colliery click here.
The Nature Park Now
The Nature Park is a modern creation dating from the 1980s that transformed a disused mine and unsightly slag heaps into a pleasant countryside amenity of benefit to wildlife and human beings alike.
Visit the Gallery to see pictures taken over the last ten years and more as the Nature Park has matured.
Car parking is available at the Shay Lane entrance with limited parking at the Oakenshaw Viaduct entrance. There is no public parking at the Woodyard Cottages / Chevet Terrace entrance.
Public Transport - Metro buses 194, 195 and 196 pass right by the Shay Lane entrance. The nearest railway station is Sandal and Agbrigg. The all-weather Sandal Curves footpath connects the station with Oakenshaw Lane not far from the Woodyard Cottages entrance to the park. [see side panel]
The Trans Pennine Trail and the National Cycle Route 67 cross the nature park. Find out more by clicking the links below.
In Walton we are fortunate have beautiful countryside on our doorstep: Haw Park Wood, Walton Park (Waterton Park), Anglers Country Park, Barnsley Canal walks, the Trans Pennine Trail, and more in the Wakefield area. It's all free!
Children start off reading in books about lions and giraffes and so on, but they also, if they're lucky enough and have reasonable privileges of any human being, are able to go into a garden and turn over stone and see a worm and see a slug and see an ant. Sir David Attenborough
Some useful links
National Route 67 is a north / south route option of the Trans Pennine Trail (central) and is open between Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley, and Sheffield.
Services 194, 195 and 196 pass right by the Shay Lane entrance.
Nearest railway station is Sandal & Agbrigg, Sandal Curves footpath connects the station with Oakenshaw Lane. Check with Metro for current situation.
Detail from the Millennium Compass
[click to enlarge]
Grey Heron Often to be seen standing still for long periods at WCNP, Walton Hall & the Cold Hiendley Reservoir.