Newfield & Stonepit walk
This 4-mile walks takes you through the Heart of the Forest, in Moira.
It showcases the industrial heritage of the area and how a local landscape, which was scarred by mining, has been restored to woodlands and wildlife habitats.
This is one of a series of four easy walks starting from Conkers Discovery Centre and exploring some of the surrounding National Forest sites. The other three walks are included in the Walks in the Heart of the National Forest. All four walks use the Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail and pass Moira Furnace.
Points of Interest
Themed around woodland life, Conkers Discovery Centre is brilliant for families. There are more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities at this lively interactive discovery centre.
The Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail runs along the former line of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway, which transported coal from local pits to London and Oxford until 1931.
The Ashby Canal carried coal from the pits before the railway was built. However, mining subsidence caused the canal to close in the 1940s. Due to the efforts of the Ashby Canal Trust, the canal has now been restored as far as Conkers Waterside.
Stonepit Field is an area of scrub and grassland which has developed with little intervention. It now provides habitat for heathland species. The bare soils provide basking areas for sand wasps and beetles.
The green lane to Newfield Colliery follows the line of the tramway built to link it with the canal wharf. The colliery closed a century ago and wildlife has reclaimed the site. Heathland plants are regenerating and the birch woodland is self-set. The pool is home to a variety of water plants and fish and Sphagnum moss can be found in the margins.
Moira Furnace was built to process iron ore extracted from the coal deposits nearby. It closed within 5 years due to the variable quality and quantity of the iron produced. It was then used as homes for a number of mine workers who lived adjacent to the canal. The Furnace and nearby lime kilns have now been refurbished and extensive information on the history of the site is provided. The cottage at the edge of Furnace Plantation originally housed the beam engine which pumped water from nearby coal shafts within the plantation.