April 2017: The Keeper of the Collieries

Heasandford Green, a beautiful place which refreshes my soul during every visit, had a previous existence as an open-cast mine.  This was a fact which was brought to my attention (and utter amazement) by a local who had known it as such during his childhood.

Relishing my surprise verging on disbelief, he showed me photographs of the pit as it had been – sixty years previously.

Bringing livelihood to the local area (alongside dreadful lung and other diseases and hazards), the industrial wound and scar of Bank Hall was essential to the local economy and gave no forewarning of the beautiful place of tranquility, healing and restoration which it would become.

Still bringing wealth to the local area in its contribution to the health and wellbeing of the community, Bank Hall has been deliberately subsumed by the phoenix of Heasandford Green.

Lancashire, however, is not the only place where wisdom and vision have combined to ensure that a phoenix has been permitted to rise.

On a recent visit to South Wales, I was taken to visit “The Keeper of the Collieries”.

Set in the valleys against a back drop of drifts of flowers, trees and mountains interspersed by streams and rivers, The Keeper watches.

Created from oak, irrefutable skill and vision, The Keeper observes, unblinkingly, those who once worked where he now stands and their descendants.

Marking the past and pointing to the future, The Keeper stands amidst community orchards, walkways and cycle paths watching and  and waiting as the valleys stir again.

Simply stunning…