The History of Bays Leap
Bays Leap Farm has been a productive working farm for centuries. However in 1957 the coal board bought the farm and other areas of Heddon on the Wall and turned it into and open cast mine. In such a short 8 years of mining, around 2.5million tons of coal was extract before it was converted back to a farm in 1965 with the mine officially closing in 1969.
The Death of Old Bays Leap
The poem below was written by Alan Duggan in 1958, describing the coal board taking over.
Alone and serene it stood for years,
Just nestled in the trees.
The winding smoke of its chimney stack,
Devoured by the breeze.
T'was built of stone, hand-carved by man,
Its walls were firm and strong.
Infinite care and workmanship,
For not a stone was wrong.
The tender creepers on its walls,
Reached up towards the sky.
An equal sight I'll never see,
From now 'til when I die.
To the south stretched fields so green,
Where lambs would often play.
Through hole in fence on to the drive,
Our wooly friends did stray.
In the north were fields of corn,
On which the sun did smile.
While to the east lay fields of hay,
On land which was fertile.
The west was fields of grass so sweet,
Where horses too did graze.
Quite content to eat and roam,
Until their dying days.
All around the wild game roamed,
And added beauty true,
To that great farm of which I write,
While I've got nought to do.
Yes, all was peace until one day,
A host of man arrived.
To dig black diamonds from the ground,
They wouldn't be deprived.
Machinery rolled in day by day,
Descending on the farm.
Tractors, scrapers, diggers too,
At first they caused alarm.
The months rolled by and now we see,
The surplus in a heap.
Towering high above the fields,
The death of old Bays Leap.
Thank you to Andrew Curtis from Heddon History for permission to use. For more information on the history of Heddon on the Wall and also the open cast mine please visit- http://heddonhistory.weebly.com