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Black Country Society visit to Sandwell Valley on 17th May 2023

A report by Dave Galley

An ideal night weather-wise which makes a change. We have Mike Hodder and Sue Whitehouse to thank for this walk.

We looked at the Priory ruins, the site of Sandwell Hall, and the location of the Jubilee coal mine.

But first we have to reach them, which involved walking through Dartmouth Park, still as good as ever, plenty of folks enjoying plenty of activities and beautiful flower beds, something for everyone. Before leaving the park Mike pointed out the Home farm to the Hall, now used as a hub for visitor activities.

Following a track which took us over the motorway first stopping place was the site where the Hall stood 200 years ago though you would not have guessed it the way the trees have taken over, the immediate evidence was a water filled Ha Ha ditch and what remains of an Ice House . Through the trees you could make out a pool, the remains of a lake that the hall overlooked.

Moving on we came to the excavated remains of the Priory clearly marked out and explanations from Mike and Sue. More about this in the magazine. Very close by was the actual Well where the name Sandwell comes from.

Coming more up to date the next stop was the site of the19th centaury Jubilee Pit, the pit bath house now being home to Sandwell Valley sailing Club beside the Swan pool but we had to make do with Canada geese. Making our way back we approached a steep rise in the path which indicated it was a bridge, Sure enough it was. Underneath this bridge in its working days was a mineral railway carrying coal to the Sandwell Colliery to be loaded on to narrow boats on the canal.

A slight detour on our way back so it would be less steep to get back to our starting point.

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