Coal mine mappers uncover WW1 trenches

A team of mappers looking for old coal mine entrances may have stumbled upon remains of practice trenches used by soldiers to prepare for battle in the First World War. […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A team of mappers looking for old coal mine entrances may have stumbled upon remains of practice trenches used by soldiers to prepare for battle in the First World War.

The discovery was made after historians looked at photos and data captured from the air with laser technology by mapping company Bluesky.

An expert at English Heritage noticed what looked like the “classic crenelated forms of First World War trenches” to the east of a former mining site near Buxton, Derbyshire.

Simon Crutchley, from the Remote Sensing team at English Heritage added: “Further examination revealed what appears to be the extensive and unrecorded remains of First World War practice trenches which could help tell the story of Derbyshire’s soldiers as they prepared to go to war.”

The site is part of Goyt Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to special wildlife and geological sites including heather-clad moors.

Art installation, 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', at the Tower of London. Image: ELN / Vicky Ellis
Art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is at the Tower of London until 11 November. Image: ELN/Vicky Ellis

The research was commissioned by the UK’s Coal Authority which is looking at different ways to inspect mine entries in rural and hard to reach places.

Phil Broughton, who is running the project to inspect mine entries at the Coal Authority said: “Our team has inspected 103,000 mine entries in Britain since 2008 under our remit to protect the public and environment in coal mining areas.”

The discovery comes as the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War is memorialised, with art displays and ceremonies held around the UK, such as the Tower of London’s field of ceramic poppies (pictured).