Recently I was visited by friends who had never been to our town before and they asked me to show them the sights. As Mansfield doesn’t really have any outstanding tourist attractions, I took them to Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre. On the way we passed through Clipstone village and my passengers were well and truly gobsmacked by the presence there of those giant headstocks. They could not understand why they were left standing so many years after the pit had been closed down, particularly as the construction looked so shabby and unloved. I was unable to defend their continued presence in the middle of an overgrown field towering over people’s houses. In my view I cannot recall anyone making a convincing case for this blot on the landscape to be retained.
It might have been different if there were plans to set up a mining museum there but no-one ever appeared willing to take this idea on board and it’s now probably too late for that as people have moved on. I suspect we will have to put up with this giant Meccano set for a good deal longer than it took for the old Mansfield General Hospital site to be cleared. Although most of us think of Clipstone as being part of Mansfield it is actually falls under the control of Newark and Sherwood Council, so it’s down to the elected members at far away as Kelham Hall to seek a solution to what seems to be an impasse. Unfortunately people coming to our town from the direction of the A1 may well not form a good first impression of Mansfield when faced with that massive steel structure which always reminds me of something out of Gulliver’s Travels. That is not an insult to the good folk of Clipstone obviously and I suspect people there do not want their neighbourhood to still be thought of as being a pit village. I wonder if this newspaper could seek the views of local residents as to the future of this remnant of the much missed coal industry.
Berry Hill Road, Mansfield