Coke ovens conservation under way near Lancaster Canal

Brian Crawley empties biochar from a drum.
Brian Crawley empties biochar from a drum.

A group of volunteers are trying to conserve a cluster of old coke ovens near Lancaster Canal.

The Friends of Carnforth Coke Ovens have been hard at work trying to uncover the remains of the ovens in a field near Holme.

Holme is one of a number of places along the Lancaster Canal where coal was once brought by canal barge to a wharf and then converted to coke for use locally.

When walking along the towpath of the Lancaster Canal close to Home Turnpike Bridge, you can see the remains of a bank of five coke ovens in a field opposite.

Vegetation from the field was cleared on March 10 in a biochar burn led by experienced charcoal burner Brian Crawley, secretary of the group.

Biochar is used horticulturally in a number of ways to aid the drainage of clays.

Then on March 14 the Friends took part in a survey of the site led by Jaimie Quartermaine of the Oxford Archaeological Unit.

The group is awaiting results of the survey to see if further archaeological digs can be carried out.