Tyne and Wear HER(5952): Western Way I (Bucksnook Way/Derwent Way I) - Details
Western Way I (Bucksnook Way/Derwent Way I)
Also known as the Bucksnook Way, although it is a misnomer as it served far more than a single colliery. Its legal existence started with an agreement of 1710 between John Clavering and Lady Jane giving wayleave to Thomas Brumell through Axwell-owned grounds for a waggonway to Bucksnook Colliery. The first leg of the way was relaid on the line of the old Hollinside Way, but changes were made at the staiths end as the old Hollinside staiths could not handle the expected traffic. The line was extended downstream where the Derwent offered more space. This required a “bridge of earth”, or battery, to be built across the Chacker Bottom marsh, the Long Ridge, and the crossing of Swalwell village street. To ensure the way stayed within Clavering grounds the gable end of the village pub was removed. From the southern boundary of Axwell a wayleave across Hollinside was obtained; but south of Hollinside difficulties arose. As a route across the Gibside estate was unobtainable, the way was forced to use a corridor of land to Byermoor, roughly following the course of the present Byermoor Lane. Two pulls were necessary to overcome a rise of 100 feetand a dangerous descent from near Fellside to the old Hollinside Way. ,The way was very lightly built because of a lack of resources. It was laid without a “bye way” for returning empties and, though one was later laid, it only went as far as the southern boundary of Axwell, to which point the Hollinside Way might be expected to have one anyway. At Crookgate, where the way entered Tanfield Moor, it crossed the head of the gill at ground level and it was only in 1713 that a battery (Crookgate Mount) was built over two culverts to mitigate the pull; this battery was removed in the late 20th century. ,Problems regarding ownership and use of a lane across Fawdon Field led a cartel of owners to come together to obstruct the waggonway – to make impossible any new route for the Western Way and then to destroy the offending waggonway. However, by 1712 the way was nearly complete and formerly opened in May 1712. But this was also the start of 14 years of physical interruptions caused by deliberate vandalism. A new colliery opened at Beckley in 1725 and it joined to Western I at Crookgate.
<< HER 5952 >> G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal 1600-1800 vol.1, 116, 183, vol. 2 13-17 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear; Turnbull, L, 2012, Railways Before George Stephenson (entry 60) 155, 171