Restoring Little Milford's winch

Vital conservation work to save the only surviving piece of coal mining machinery found in Pembrokeshire’s Cleddau Woodlands has been completed by our team of National Trust volunteers.

With the support of an engineering conservator, our volunteers dedicated more than 350 hours to restore the historic winch (or windlass), which was used in the mining of coal in Little Milford Wood.

The winch, which was originally discovered in the woodland near Stumpy Corner and showing signs of deterioration, is believed to date between the late 19th and early 20th century.

Manufactured by Stephens of Pembroke, the winch is thought to have been operated by women workers and used to hoist spoil (waste rock or material discarded during mining) during the sinking of shafts to access horizontal drainage adits.

Conservation work included clearing the undergrowth and area where the winch was previously sited, dismantling the heavy machinery (approximately 500kg in weight) for transportation to the workshop and then multiple restoration sessions of cleaning, priming and painting.

The winch has now been moved to its new home near Little Milford’s upper car park in Hook and is on display for visitors to enjoy.

Speaking about the conservation work, our area ranger Matt Thompson, said: “Our volunteers have worked incredibly hard to restore the winch back to its former glory and we’re delighted to now be able to share more of the area’s industrial past with visitors.

“Regular maintenance will be carried out by our team to ensure this important piece of local heritage is safeguarded for the future.”

Volunteers dedicated more than 350 hours to restore the winch
Volunteers with the winch
Volunteers dedicated more than 350 hours to restore the winch