Moira Furnace and the canal
|Council:||North West Leicestershire|
|North West Leicestershire|
|Website:||Ashby Woulds Town Council|
Moira is a former coal mining village in the very west of Leicestershire, close to the boundary with Derbyshire. It is found about two and half miles west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and three miles south of Swadlincote in Derbyshire.
Though the pits have closed, Moira has found a new lease of life as a centre within the National Forest. The long mining and quarrying of this part of Leicestershire, for coal, limestone, granite and brick clay left a landscape scarred with environmental damage and this was one of the reasons that it was chosen as the site for the, which is part of a Government-funded programme to create more woodland.
Moira's name is taken form that of its namesake in Ulster; Moira, or more strictly it somes from the earldom of Moira, one of the titles of the Hastings family, which held Ashby Castle. The former local colliery, Rawdon Colliery, also bore a Hastings family name.
The Midland Railway opened its Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line through Moira in 1845. Moira railway station served the village until British Railways closed it in 1964. The building still survives and the line remains open as a freight route.
Rawdon Colliery was worked for about 150 years. Its seams extended six miles from the shaft, and some had been worked twice, recovering lower grade coal. The pit survived Britain's pit closure programme in the mid-1980s that followed the miners' strike, but ran out of viable coal seams. Gases were rarely a hazard, but spontaneous combustion of coal dust was a potential problem.
The 120-acre National Forest Millennium Discovery Centre, now called 'Conkers', is on the site of Rawdon Colliery. Its visitor centre features a borehole-based heating and cooling system. Moira Junction Local Nature Reserve occupies 8½ acres of former railway sidings nearby.
Moira Furnace is a restored 19th century blast furnace. A mile and a half section of the Ashby Canal adjacent to the furnace has also been restored and refilled, although it lacks a navigable link to the rest of the system due to the A42 road having been built across its line. The furnace site also includes craft workshops and a small nature reserve.
Both the Youth Hostels Association's National Forest youth hostel and the Camping and Caravanning Club's National Forest campsite are in Moira and opened in 2008.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Moira, Leicestershire)
- "Local Nature Reserve". Natural England. http://www.lnr.naturalengland.org.uk/Special/lnr/lnr_details.asp?C=0&N=moira&ID=1390. Retrieved 3 February 2011.