Wet Earth Colliery Exploration Group.


This page contains ONLY the news as interpreted by the webmaster of this site. It does NOT purport in ANY shape or form to represent the views of the Exploration Group, the late Mining Museum nor any other party who may be involved. It is purely MY page of "latest news" - you can always contact me at d.lane@btinternet.com if you wish to comment about this page!





3.09.07 The two free downloadable books, "Wet Earth Scrapbook" and "Diary of Exploration" have been combined - and are now available as an A4 sized, black and white bound paperback book, priced approx £4.35 (plus postage) direct from the printers at: www.lulu.com

3.2.04. I know I said no more updates on this page but I've decided to write yet again. The entry for 15/6/01 sums up my views on the present situation. An e-mail received today puts it even more bluntly : "As one who was fortunate enough to explore the tunnels I am shocked & appalled that the council can just abandon years of effort, when a little persistence could have led to a world class heritage site which more far sighted councils have managed to produce". This sums up my views as well!

The underground tunnels continue to get silted up. The proof of this can be observed by peering down into the wheelchamber and noting the level of the water at the bottom, far higher than it used to be - and often even the tunnel entrances in the wall are often covered by the rising water.

The situation will NEVER improve whilst the City of Salford just stands on the sidelines and does nothing about the site. As an absolute minimum, I would hope that at least the authorities would allow access to a suitably equipped group to fully photograph the tunnel system, end to end, and perhaps even allow the making a video of the system. In this way at least, a permanent record would be preserved for future generations. At present the ONLY real record of the tunnels - available to the general public - is what you see on this web site and in the free books that can be downloaded HERE and HERE. There is nothing else ........ and our Local Authority seems determined that there WILL be nothing else in future. Pathetic!

7.9.01. As it looks as if Salford Council have now completely washed their hands of the Brindley tunnels at Wet Earth, nothing new will be added to this page unless there are dramatic developments to do with the Wet Earth tunnel system. To keep up with other snippets of news concerning the area surrounding Wet Earth, this is now put on to the "Bits and Pieces" section of the site,

15.6.01. Nothing has changed. All the Wet Earth tunnels are still closed to everyone.

Meanwhile, nature takes over, and the passages are slowly but surely silting up again. The photo below - taken through the spiders web! - shows how the entance to the tailrace tunnel has now filled with river silt. The tunnels will soon be totally blocked once again and unavailable for Salford citizens to look at. Yet another aspect of Salfords history will be lost ............. and still the Council does absolutely NOTHING about this priceless piece of history within its township.

On the 30.11.99 an entry was made on this page, stating that "a committee is to report back to the council committees within three months". This was never done! No committee ever reported back! Reports that were promised to the committees, never materialised. Endless promises to write the reports were not worth the hot air involved. People involved in this charade then left the authority. The whole matter was quietly forgoten about. No-one has mentioned a word about Wet Earth since that time. One gets the distinct impression, that if Salford is not interested in something, then it just quietly "forgets" about the whole matter hoping it will vanish and go away - unless of course it can flog it!

The whole of the Wet Earth Colliery complex, is a monument to the hard work and ingenuity of local people - plus the genius of James Brindly - and it just ain't gonna "go away". It's going to be there for the next few hundred years just as it's lasted so far since around the time of the French Revolution! Let the present state of the site be be lasting reminder to Salford City Council on "How to ignore your heritage".

Gentlemen of the Council ...... you are a washout and a waste of time so far as local people are concerned. If Wet Earth were to be renamed "The Lowry Colliery" perhaps you would be interested! Incidentally, Lowry actually drew pictures of Wet Earth Colliery ......... more than he did with Salford Docks! Get real, City of Salford! Get a bit of REAL history. Do something about it. At the very least, make some decisions that will allow basic maintenance of the complex to take place even if it is not open to the general public. To do absolutely NOTHING is a travesty of our history and heritage.



16.8.00 What a shambles! the council have closed the Lancashire Mining Museum - despite dozens of money wasting projects of theirs still remaining open. The tunnels at Wet Earth are still closed, with no interest whatsoever from the council in re-opening them. Let this be a lesson to all on how a local authority can kill off your history and heritage.

I hear that parties near to Wigan Council had indicated that the contents of the Mining Museum could have been transferred Astley Green Colliery - although this may have taken some time as new exhibit areas would have needed to be planned and constructed. My mole informs me that this is sheer wishfull thinking, as Salford Council have already offered the lot, lock stock and barrel, to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. Very soon, every Salford Councillor will be able to look you straight in the eye and deny that there was ever any mining activity in Salford! What are they going to flog off next?

30.7.00 Absolutely no change! The tunnels are still closed both to the public and to the group. The passages are by now probably filling up with silt again, especially near the entrances and Salfords industrial heritage lies derelict and unwanted. What a waste and a sad reflection on local councils innactivity on subjects which are not the current "flavour of the month". I wait with interest to see how much public lolly suddenly becomes available for spending on the Art Gallery at Peel Park or for "modernisation" of the now defunct Lancashire Mining Museum in Buille Hill.


I note that it is now over 12 months since I started this "Latest News" page. It is also over over 2 years since the Clifton tunnels were closed and they still remain closed! Due to the "financial problems" within the City of Salford the situation is likely to remain unchanged in the immediate future, because unless something is connected to L S Lowry, the Salford artist, the council has little interest in it. The Wet Earth Exploration Group are considering renaming the Wet Earth tunnels as the "Lowry Complex" in an attempt to generate some interest ........ ........ only joking!


The Lancashire Mining Museum is to close. Quite what this act of vandalism by Salford City Council will have on the future of Wet Earth is not known. Watch this space! What has stunned most people about the closure of the Museum, is not just the council's wanton destruction of the area's mining heritage, but is the obvious political overtones and hidden agendas which are obvious to everyone who knows anything about the Irwell Valley.

On the one hand, there is the closure of the Museum, the very body which fights for the opening of Wet Earth to the people of Salford. On the other hand, the council have decided to keep Clifton House Farm here in the valley. The farm was purchased by the council some 15 years ago and is always listed in the "museum" section of city guides. By my estimate, the council has spent at least half a million pounds on the farm so far - probably a lot more - yet it is still not yet open to the public!!!!!!!!!! It has only ever been used for the odd school visit (who quite frankly would be made more than welcome at most local real farms in the area) and it is used to house Salford's shire horses (why a city needs to own and look after shire horses beats me and most other Salford taxpayers). The Farm is due to remain in Salford's ownership!

WHY does the Mining Museum have to close, yet the real white elephant is to have even more public money wasted on it? I thought only collieries had "bottomless pits" but obviously the council wish to promote Clifton House Farm as another one!


The meetings took place on the 23rd & 24th of November. As a result, it was decided that a feasability study be instituted to decide the best method of clearing the tunnels and making them safe. There are 3 major ways of doing this a) by spending hundreds of thousands of pounds getting a full blown construction/mining firm in to undertake large scale restoration c) by getting outside contractors to make safe those areas considered needing repair d) by utilising the skills of the Wet Earth Exploration group to continue clearing the tunnels and undertaking safety work. Option a) is out of the question due to the financial costs involved. A committee is to report back to the council committees within 3 months.


It is understood that there will be a meeting of the Planning and Development (development/land and performance review) Subcommittee on the 23rd November followed the next day by a meeting of the Arts and Leisure Committee, both groups to discuss the future of Wet Earth.


And now for some astonishing news! Recently discovered evidence indicates that perhaps the well documented "water wheel chamber" was not after all built by Brindley! It would seem that HIS waterwheel chamber, may have been underground at the base of a shaft near to the coal outcrop at the extreme bend in the Irwell near to the suspension bridge. The power from the wheel was transferred via surface metal or wooden "rods" to a mine shaft, nearer to the visitor centre. For more details see the new wheelchamber page!



The Policy Committee Meeting scheduled for today has been put back to some future date. Whether this is to be in weeks or months is not yet known.


News has it that on the 6th October 1999 there will be a council Policy Committee Meeting where the ownership of the Wet Earth tunnels will be discussed. Something happening at last!

Photo of the "high tunnel" before removal of some of the silt.


   The tunnels at Wet Earth are still closed. Not only are they still closed, but it would appear that the "powers that be" have as yet, done absolutely nothing whatsoever to rectify the situation since the beginning of the year.

10. 4. 1999

    The situation at Wet Earth remains unaltered for the past 12 months or so.

    In February 1997 the Manchester Evening News published a damaging front page article about the site, making various claims and allegations about the safety of the mine for visitors. A reader with any knowledge of the mine, would instantly realise that the article was a load of scare mongering junk which bore little or no resemblance to the truth or to reality! Frankly, in my view, the writer of the article should be "struck off" for abysmal journalism and for deliberately producing false, innacurate and damaging information purely to obtain pecuniary advantage!

   The surface remains at Wet Earth are there for everyone to explore. A guide to some of these remains is on this web site.

   The tunnels at Wet Earth are closed at the present time to everyone. It is hoped that they will be re-opened in the near future,but at the moment this is dependent on negotiations between the Coal Authority and the Local Council regarding the "ownership" of the tunnels. Anyone with any knowledge of Local Authorities will be aware that this could take some time!!!!

    Although the Wet Earth Colliery Exploration Group are not at present involved in any activity at Clifton, they are currently liasing with other mining groups who are investigating the mining history of Winter Hill near Bolton, Lancashire.

    Now that the Lancashire Mining Museum has closed there is now no longer any place you can go to obtain the latest news about Wet Earth or the Exploration Group. I'm afraid that for the present your only point of contact is via the writer at d.lane@btinternet.com




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