FOBHS@ 2019



An anonymous wellwisher has donated The Friends of Brinsley Headstocks a financial gift in recognition of their environmental work in the village.

When Friends Treasurer Colin Barson emptied his mail box he came across an envelope

marked “Friends of Brinsley Headstocks” inside which was £50 in bank notes alongside a note

explaining that the donor’s mother enjoyed the mineral line adjacent to the headstocks site. The note added that “no further correspondence” was required.

   “ It is an incredibly generous gesture, much appreciated by the group,”said Mr Barson. “Although we can’t thank them personally I am sure the message will get back that their support is much valued.”

He added, “If members of the family are reading this they can be assured their gift will be invested wisely In the restoration of the Headstocks site.”

August 2022


Representatives of the Friends group collecting their award at a National Ceremony held at the

National Arboretum.

Chairman’s Christmas message


Despite the harsh weather there is a thick white carpet of snowdrops in woodland overlooking the Headstocks site.

Growing in Vine Wood – to which there is no public access – the spectacular display can easily be viewed from the main pathway between the car park and the old mineral line.

Over the Spring there will be equally colourful displays of bluebells and daffodils. Watch this space and enjoy the view!

January 2023.


As Members of the Headstocks group keenly await the results of this year’s Green Flag assessment, they have been celebrating the news that their work has also received civic acknowledgement.

Chairman Ken Hamilton and Secretary Stephanie Wilhardt represented the Group at a presentation ceremony in Beeston Town Hall hosted by the then Mayor of Broxtowe Coun David Grindell.  He presented them with the Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition for the Group’s contribution to safeguarding and enhancing the borough’s environment.

In all nine organisations and individuals received Certificates of which the Headstocks was one of four environmental groups.

“It was a very special event to know that our work has been appreciated and that the work of our Members has been acknowledged by the wider community,” said Mr Hamilton.


June 2023.



Broxtowe Borough Council has issued this statement for information:


“The Headstocks have a regular visual inspection from ground level. A recent site visit noted what appeared to be signs of decay in some of the structural beams. As a result a structural engineer specialising in timber was commissioned to undertake a detailed inspection, using a mobile platform to gain close access.


The engineer has confirmed decay is present and that some of the timber could fail. As such a temporary fence has been erected around the Headstocks to ensure public safety, should any of the structure come away.

In the first instance the engineer will be providing a report and method statement to reduce the loading on the Headstocks - this is likely to involve removing the winding wheels.

A further, more detailed report will then be produced to show the extent of works required in the longer term to repair the structure. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available

Please do not move the fence or attempt to gain access to the exclusion area”


February 2023.


The team of Members which guided the Headstocks to numerous awards over the past eight years is set to continue.

At the Group’s annual general meeting the following Members were re-elected:

Chairman – Ken Hamilton

Secretary – Stephanie Wilhardt

Treasurer – Colin Barson


Pupils and members of staff from the Brinsley Primary school teamed up with the Friends to strengthen the area’s wildflower diversity.

An area of the Headstocks site known as Long Meadow has been allowed to flourish largely without human intervention. The result of this “neglect” has been the creation of an increasingly rare undisturbed grassland.

About a dozen youngsters, along with civic leaders including the Mayor of Broxtowe, took part in the planting of wildflower “plugs” and grasses, hopefully creating a feature for future generations to enjoy.

A spokesman for Broxtowe Borough Council explained the importance of hay meadows. “Traditional hay meadows are extremely biodiverse containing dozens of plant species in a square metre which provide food, plants and nectar for a wide range of insects and invertebrates. These, in turn, provide pollinating services to both wild plants and agricultural crops and a food resource for birds and other animals further up the food chain.

It is estimated that 98% of unimproved meadows have disappeared over the last century, mostly through agricultural improvement and development,” added the spokesman.

He added,” Undisturbed grasslands carry the highest carbon store of any broad habitat in the UK, beating even woodlands. As the dead roots of grassland plants decompose they end up as stable carbon compounds, effectively locking carbon into the soil for centuries.

“At the Headstocks site a significant proportion of the grassland is being managed as hay meadow.

This means that in the Autumn the meadows are cut and at the Headstocks the bales, damp and heavy, are carefully placed alongside the Long Meadow hedge.

“As the hay decomposes, bacterial activity generates a small amount of heat which could be used by reptiles to lay their eggs.

“In conclusion composting on-site has eliminated disposal costs, helped lock up atmospheric carbon and possibly provide habitat for reptiles.”

April 2023


Celebrations were in order with the announcement that the Brinsley Headstocks colliery-cum-nature-reserve site has won a Green Flag Community Award for the ninth successive year.

Even with the headstocks temporarily fenced off while maintenance issues are investigated, the Green Flag judges were sufficiently impressed with the work of the Friends of the Headstocks on the remainder of the site to present the group with a new flag.

The site is just one of a total of 40 Community Flags awarded across the East Midlands region as a whole.

The award, given by the Keep Britain Tidy organisation, officially recognises the Headstocks as one of the country’s best parks. A KBT spokesman commented, ”This is a vital green space for the community bringing people together and providing opportunities to lead healthy lifestyles.”

As well as a nature reserve and wildlife habitat on the former colliery, the 12 acre site hosts the last remaining timber tandem headstocks in Britain and has links with the local coal mining heritage and the D.H.Lawrence family.

Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton said the award was a well deserved accolade, earned by the dedication and commitment not just of the Friends but also the many partners who contributed to the site’s success. He added,” The site is a living being, it is evolving all the time and with each new season, each new year, different challenges emerge which the team try to resolve.

“I hope the people of Brinsley and surrounding communities enjoy taking full advantage of this amenity, right on their doorstep which has so much to offer.”

July 2023


There was plenty of help on offer as Brinsley celebrated the awarding of its ninth Community Green Flag. A good crowd had gathered at the Headstocks car park to witness the raising of the 2023-2024 flag.

Guests included Cllr John Ogle Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, Cllr Susan Patterson Deputy Mayor of Broxtowe and local elected representative Cllr Liz Williamson together with Brinsley parish councillors and several members of the Friends of Brinsley Headstocks group were there in support along with a number of Brinsley residents.

They were welcomed by the Chairman of the Friends, Ken Hamilton. He said the flying of the new flag coincided with the installation of two new directional signs highlighting the entrance to the car park.

After the ceremony guests were treated to a cream tea hosted by the Brinsley Headstocks Tearoom.

August 2023.


In response to continuing questions from supporters and visitors the Friends have issued the following statement concerning the absence of the winding wheels from the Headstocks.

“Following an engineer’s report on the wooden structure earlier this year, the wheels have been removed as a pre-cautionary safety measure and placed in storage. Broxtowe Borough Council, as site owners, are exploring options for the best way forward as the wooden headstocks are clearly showing signs of their age.

In addition investigation of possible sources of funding for remedial works and restoring the structure are under way. No timetable for this phase of the works is yet available.

Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton said that members of the group shared the concerns of residents and visitors about the future of the headstocks. He stressed that apart from the immediate area around the headstocks the rest of the site was ‘open for business’ as usual.”

October 2023


A “save the headstocks” petition has been launched by the Friends as concerns surface about the future of the iconic structure.

The group is calling for greater community involvement and consultation with the structure’s owners, Broxtowe Borough Council.

The giant winding wheels and a smaller pulley wheel have already been removed from the site for safety reasons and in an email to the group the council reported that work on de-constructing the timber frame was timetabled for week commencing Monday 11th December giving officers a better opportunity to examine the condition of the wooden beams.

“Every effort will be made to retain salvageable material from the structure,” said a council officer who added that the next steps were being carefully considered but as yet no action plan had been prepared.

Petition forms can be signed at:

 The Headstocks Tea Room on Church Lane.

 Brinsley Garage.

 The Parish Hall.

“We would appeal to the local community for their support in retaining an outstanding feature of Brinsley’s history” said Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton.

December 2023.


The future of the headstocks is likely to be decided over the next few months as funding possibilities for renovation are researched as are suppliers of the massive timbers which will be required if a full re-build becomes the favoured option.

Contractors moved swiftly once safety concerns had been identified, the whole structure being dismembered leaving no trace of the once proud monument to the areas coal mining heritage.

Moving just as quickly were scores of residents who signed the Friends petition calling for greater public involvement in future talks with the site owners, Broxtowe Borough Council. In all around 1,000 people added their names to the concerned list, underlining the depth of local feeling about the possible permanent loss of the headstocks.

The petition has now been presented to Broxtowe who, we understand, have formulated a funding bid to the UK Shared Prosperity Funding (UKSPF). Other possible sponsors are being considered.

“Support from members of the public could not have been better,” said Friends Chairman Ken Hamilton. “Whilst a lot of effort is being put in to bring the headstocks back to Brinsley, the work of the Friends continues as normal with tasks such as footpath clearance, seasonal pruning, hedge maintenance, planting and general site tidying in the nature reserve.”

February 2024.



Despite the freezing rain more than 30 residents and heritage supporters gathered on the headstocks site to hear the latest developments in the quest to restore and reinstate the unique structure.

In the presence of both local MPs, Coun Milan Radulovic MBE, Leader of Broxtowe council outlined the choices facing his colleagues. He told the on-lookers that initially three options were examined:

Coun Radulovic said, personally, he was in favour of the timber option but stressed that the final decision would be made by the council’s Cabinet members.

He added that Option 1 had, for the time being, been discarded with Options 2 and 3 the front runners. Costs had been sought from specialist suppliers and although some remnants of the original ironwork and timbers had been preserved, prices around £100,000 to £200,000 had been discussed.

Friends Chairman, Ken Hamilton, engaged in a lively exchange with Coun Radulovic making sure the strength of local views was well understood.

Feb 2024  


Members of the Friends group were treated to a demonstration of the traditional skill of hedge laying.

A small group of members took advantage of an expert team trimming the existing hedge alongside the Long Meadow.

Joining the onlookers was the Mayor of Broxtowe Coun Teresa Cullen.

“It was a great opportunity made all the better by a rare glimpse of the sun shining on the carpet of snowdrops leading up to the meadow,” said a Friends spokesman who added that the hedge was not only functional but also in keeping with its countryside surroundings.

February 2024.

Photo Caption:  Workers and watchers take a breather from the hedge laying.


The Friends are encouraging residents to take part in a public consultation on the use of the Headstocks site as part of an information gathering exercise by site owners Broxtowe Borough Council.


Listed in the consultation document are three possible scenarios – with funding implications – plus scope for alternative suggestions.

Although the questionnaire is principally concerned with the headstocks and winding wheels it also encompasses the surrounding nature reserve.

“Through our team of volunteers we have worked long and hard to assist Mother Nature in reclaiming a former colliery site into a safe territory for all forms of wildlife,” said a Friends spokesman.

“In addition to regular recording of birds and mammals, the site has also been surveyed by experts in fungi growth and, more recently, by a study of the amazing number of different mosses to be found on the site.

“We would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation so we can gather a full picture of the use of the site.”

As well as on-line, it is understood paper copies of the survey are available from the Headstocks Tearooms on Church Lane. Closing date is 31st May, 2024.

For full details follow:


Brinsley residents have only a few days left to express their opinion on the future of the Headstocks site.

Site owners, Broxtowe Borough Council, have launched a public consultation setting out possible options for its future use and also inviting resident’s suggestions for what might happen.

This consultation ends on Friday 31st May.

The council has invited respondents to reply on-line. The full scope of the survey can be viewed on the Broxtowe website under the Brinsley Headstocks Consultation banner.

Paper copies of the questionnaire are available from the Headstocks Tea Rooms, the parish council offices and the Durham Ox. It is understood that the Tea Rooms have kindly offered to receive the paper responses.

23rd May, 2024.


The Friends were pleased to hear from a resident who had carried out her own assessment of bird life in the Headstocks using an App on her mobile phone. The device had identified almost 30 species over a couple of visits to the site. The App listed the following:


July 2024


The fate of the Headstocks remains in the balance as Broxtowe borough councillors consider various options.

Residents however are more focused on how they see the future – the Headstocks fully restored to its original form.

A consultation carried out by Broxtowe revealed that by a huge majority this was the course of action most favoured by locals.

Only time will tell.

July 2024


Wood Pigeon


Black Cap



Great Tit

Blue Tit

Tree Creeper

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush


Stock Dove

Collared Dove

Carrion Crow

Gold Finch

Green Finch







White Wagtail


Chiff Chaff