Thurcroft coal mine closed circa 1990 (the commemorative plate states 1992). These pictures were taken of the pit site in November 1999 and September 2007 (during which there have been significant changes).
The 1999 wasteland that was the landscaped pit tip was only partly covered with scrub grass. It had deep water channels cut into the soft shale waste, (dug up with the coalfrom 300 metres below ground where it had lain for 300 million years since the carbonoiferous era). It was a very, very, bleak place, and on the grey Sunday afternoon in '99 that I took these pics; it was like a scene from a Mad Max movie with garishly clad men on moto cross bikes ripping up the landscape (although the environment was so far beyond any further damage that it didn't make much difference). To the right, and over the hill, is the 18th century Thurcroft Hall.
The September 2007 pictures show a much improved environment. Most of shale had acquired some topsoil and was covered in thick scrubby grass and rows of newly planted saplings. It seemed home to ground nesting birds like skylarks, and kestrels hovered hunting for the mice and voles that the grass provided food and cover for.
These vents, shown in 1999, are attached over the old mine shaft and vent methane from the disused workings.
These vents, shown in 2007, are presumably also over the old mine shaft, but are now in a hollow in the ground (either through extensive landscaping, or there's more than one shaft cap). Odd to think that for 80 years hundreds of miners moved up and down these shafts in steel cages, 3 shifts a day, hauling hundreds of tons of coal per shift. Now all you can see are skylarks and kestrels, the rest is silence and ripples of wind in the grass.
The pits used to be served by railways that carried away the coal. When the pit went, so did the railway. Now in 2007 it's a cyclepath.
Above: Thurcroft reclaimed pit tip - view of scrub grass growing over the dark colliery waste. There were mountains of this grey stuff (shale, coal dust, etc.) next to all collieries before they were closed.
Below: Thurcroft pit memorial plate.