On B4226 between Coleford and Speech House Road, 2km east of Coleford.
|Open:||MAR-OCT daily 10-16:30, last tour at 15:30.|
|Fee:||Adults GBP 3.50, Children GBP 2.50.|
Tony Oldham (2002):
The Mines of the Forest of Dean,
|Address:||Hopewell Colliery Museum, Cannop Hill, Speech House Road, Coleford, Gloucestershire, Tel: +44-1594-810706, outside opening hours +44-1594-832216.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
This is an opportunity to visit a Freemine in comfort. One of the main features is a caplamp guided tour down New Road Adit to a previously worked coal seam, only 18 inches high and returning to the surface by a drainage adit driven in the 1800's by David Mushet. The tools of the miners' trade are all on display. There is free admission to Cafeteria and Surface Museum of Mining Tools and Equipment.
The proprietor, Mr Morgan, a "Free Miner" himself, still mines coal in Phoenix Mine, on the opposite side of the road.
Hopewell is a real mine, so practical shoes and warm clothing should be worn. Conditions may present difficulties for some disabled visitors who should telephone in advance. Hopewell is close to many footpaths and cycle ways. Ramblers and Cyclists are welcome.
This is unique to the Forest of Dean and was established in the reign of King Edward 1 (1272-1307) as a reward for the part played by the Forest miners in the siege of Berwick-on-Tweed. Between 1668 and 1777 a Court of Mine Law met at intervals in the Speech House to deal with disputes among miners. It was presided over by the Constable of St Briavels, with the Gavellor and Clerk of the Court attending and verdicts were given by a jury of 12 Free Miners. To become a Freeminer a man had to be born within the Hundred of St Briavel, more or less the area of the Forest, and to have worked for a year and a day in a local mine within the Hundred. Even today a Freeminer has to apply to the Deputy Gavellor, to work a claim or a 'gale' in the Forest. There are now only a handful of free miners left.
Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.