Created from the earth dug out of the railway tunnel underneath, the satisfyingly named ‘Tumps’ are a series of large spoil heaps which are now covered in bushes and trees. They are a natural haven for wildlife, and part of the area has been adapted into a perfect set of tracks for BMX riders. Climb to the top of the largest “tump” to discover a beacon or see if you can identify a bomb crater from WW2.
Spoil heaps (also called ‘gob piles’ and ‘culm banks’) are hill-like mounds of soil, coal, rock, and other materials that are discarded during mining or excavation. These vast heaps of mining waste rise conspicuously from our countryside like alien megaliths; their undulating waves and strange pyramid-like structures form an ever-present reminder of Britain’s industrial past.