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Chatterley Valley/Harecastle Tunnel/Goldendale pool beauty wiped out as trees are logged on the Stoke-on-Trent Newcastle Border

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Yet more destruction of our country side today, as I discovered when I went for a dinner time stroll around the green areas of Tunstall.

My trip took me down the fields running between Reginald Mitchell Way and Hollywall lane, and spotting some smoke down by Harecastle Tunnel (tunstall end) I went to havea look.

It was devestaing to discover the tree felling last year in Bathpool Park, and just like then it was also devistating to see an area as historically important and a beauty spot that brings thousands of tourists each year blighted by the logging that has taken place.

A strip running from Reginald Mitchell Way, between the railway lines and Goldendale pool and the canal, continues all the way past Harecastle tunnel has been logged, with the leaves and branches being burnt off behind the houses by the Tunnel.

Maybe this is private land, but the amount of devestation, in an area that has already seen a lot of it's natural features built on has been completley devestated, ruined, wiped out.

There aren't enough trees and habitat for wildlife as it is without this happening. 

Area of Destruction

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Coop's picture

How sad thay yet again greed

How sad thay yet again greed has got in the way of enviroment. It's also worth mentioning that in the background of many of your photos is a ware house hearlded as one of the greenest in europe, and right next to it you've got a whole bunch of trees being cut down. Any chance this is the same people behind the Bathpool trees?

garden surgery's picture

With that amount of

With that amount of distruction there has to be a path or a ROAD GOING THROUGH THERE!!, NEED TO RING THE COUNCIL AND SEE...??

Web Monkey's picture

Hi SteveJoan Walley,

Hi Steve

Joan Walley, Stoke-on-Trent & Newcastle Borough Council are investigating. 

On twitter someone mentioned they thought the land was network rail.

i guess well know more tomorrow.

Banned's picture

I to saw this, the smoke

I to saw this, the smoke could be smelled from the estate, and travelling allong Chatterly Road, there was almost a complete 'smoke out' across the road.


This type of un-controlled smoke control can cause accidents and I thought was very naughty.


That whole area seems to be under-going a revamp with the road works and cutting back of the trees and such. I also noticed a push in adervertising of the G Planet 'white elephant' going on too?


Are G Planet paying for this work or is it the council?


If it is the council I can think of far more worse roads and areas that need spending money on them?

RedGirl's picture

When we came down Peacock Hay

When we came down Peacock Hay Road on Saturday we noticed the clearance work that had been done. I also spotted that new pavements were being put in alongside the road next to Green Planet. It crossed my mind whether the council are opening up a footpath to link Bathpool Park with Westport Lake, via the old railway track bed and canal towpath. Just a thought. Will be interesting to find out.

Web Monkey's picture

It's a possibiliity, but I'm

It's a possibiliity, but I'm sure there would have been more notices.

There are also quite a lot of footpaths down there, one now blocked by the felled tree, and the other main one which is also part of the Cycke Stoke route, and that being the canal path.

Also in these times of cuts, I'm not sure if they'd spend the money.

However, other than a acknowledgments of my emails, one saying they don't think it was council land, I've not heard back from Stoke-on-Trent City Council whos area this falls under. The fires are still burning today, so just wondering how long it takes. Councillor Margaret Hassle along with Kidsgrove Town Council put an stop on Bathpool's logging really quickly once it came out.

The problem is if it is illegal logging, it's far to late as the wood has been carved up, and natural habitat has been diminished again.



Guest's picture

Just wondering about similar

Just wondering about similar tree felling and ploughing on the A527 near Chatterley Whitfield?

Guest's picture

this has been done illegally

this has been done illegally by the new owners, who we believe originate from liverpool,in conjunction with a few locals. it seems in preporation for some planned dwellings.the council has  currently put a stop notice on the work as it seriously contravenes a load of regulations.

we think that if people go to these lengths prior to receiving planning permission it makes you wonder what they will do if it is approved.

locals are monitoring the situation with trepidation.



Web Monkey's picture

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council have come back now with their first offical response.

Maybe because Cllr Astle over the border caused a major fuss and got a stop order straight away on the loggers in Bathpool, I'd have expected alot more get up an go from our council, prehaps share knowledge across borders that sort of thing.

Anyway, here's the response from the planning office over at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.



Your reference
Our reference ENF/12/052
Date 21 February 2012
City Renewal Services
Civic Centre  Glebe Street
Stoke-on-Trent   ST4 1HH
Hardial Bhogal
Dear Mr Burke
Case No: ENF/12/052
Location: Land off Chatterley Road, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent
Development: Felling of trees in a Conservation Area.
We have received your complaint about the above development. Your complaint will be investigated and I will write to you again as soon as possible.
However, I would point out that some enforcement complaints can take a long time to resolve.
The Council’s website ( contains further information about the planning enforcement service and how we deal with complaints.
Please contact me if you have any questions or require further information.
Yours sincerely
Abid Hussain
Planning Enforcement Officer
City Renewal
City of Stoke-on-Trent
Guest's picture

It's the old Stoke to

It's the old Stoke to Manchester railway line which led to Harecastle before tunnel problems caused the West Coast Main Line (as it wasn't known then) to be diverted through Bathpool Park in the 60s. Therefore it's Network Rail land. Maybe they're thinking of putting HS3 through there ;-)

Guest's picture

I was talking to someone by

I was talking to someone by the Harecastle Tunnel entrance this morning (it's part of my morning cycle commute to work), they said much the same thing, that the're planning to re-open the tunnel as part of a cycle path. But what's the point?


The canal towpath is perfectly adequate for getting to Wesport lake (maybe widen it a bit from the tunnel to the RMW bridge), unless they aren't allowed to designate it a cycle path because it belongs to ST water or something.


It's not going to save much time over going through Bathpool Park to get to Kidsgrove at the cost of probably millions, it's going to need to be lit, and ramps built at the Kidsgrove end to get out of the cuttings.

bj-dj's picture

Waiting for a response from

Waiting for a response from the council could take ages why doesn't someone just ask one of the contractors down on the site what is happening.

Web Monkey's picture

They don't know who they're

They don't know who they're working for apparently Bryn. Well that's what they're saying

RedGirl's picture

The Harecastle tunnel isn't

The Harecastle tunnel isn't safe. It hasn't been maintained since it was moth-balled in the 60's and would take huge amounts of money to make it safe and turn it into an adequate cycle path. The tunnel itself is too long and has inadequate ventilation throughout its length so to make a cycle path out of it would be a huge undertaking. Don't get me wrong, I'd love the tunnel to be utilised and open again, but it will take too much to do.

Me and my husband took a walk down to where the trees are being felled last night, but we still can't figure out why they're clearing it. Unless it's for access to the fishing pond. Before the railway line was diverted, the fishing pond was never there. There were old farm buildings and houses, but no pond. Maybe whoever owns the land is reclaiming it for building purposes and is starting with access to the site. Speculation at it's best :)

Web Monkey's picture

I had a response forwarded on

I had a response forwarded on from Cllr Garner last night from someone with the council noting that there doesn't mean the council can do.

Seems like the trees have been cut down because the land owner says it's to erradicate  Japanese Knotweed.  Keep you all posted.


confirm that none of the trees felled are covered by a Tree Preservation Order but a small area of the land lies within the Trent & Mersey Canal Conservation Area and as such any works to those trees should technically have had permission from the Local Planning Authority before doing any works.


I have spoken to the landowner and we are discussing the situation with them. They have advised that the works are to clear the area of trees and Japanese Knotweed that has already undergone a number of treatments

There are no other plans for any kind of future development or other works on the land.


Also, they have been granted an exemption from the Environment Agency for the burning of the felled trees, particularly because this is the best/safest method of disposing of the Japanese Knotweed.


Guest's picture

I was speaking to some one

I was speaking to some one around the pool and rumour has it McGuinness' was buidling some units in this area.

I dont know what truth there is in this, so dont hold me to it, just passing on what i have heard.

steven leighton's picture

i live in canal house at the

i live in canal house at the mouth of the tunnel and we are devestated by this clearing. myself an british waterways have investigated this and have found out that fizzels are going to fill in part of the clearing to make ready a new cycle path to connect with the works that are ongoing on lowlands road. this will not include the old tunnel. i can add that carilion who maintain the old railway structures on site new nothing of this but the the land including the pools is now privately owned. 

steven leighton's picture

i would also like to add that

i would also like to add that the biggest problem in this area is the amount of rubbish around the pool left by people fishing.

Web Monkey's picture

Hi StevenThanks for posting.

Hi Steven

Thanks for posting. It must be pretty depressing looking out of your window onto that view now.

Yes, the pond does have an awful litter problem, and after having a letter from a Stoke-on-Trent City Council saying that they can force land to owners  to clean their land up.

I'll not be using the cycle path. To fell all of those trees for a cycle path. It's just wrong. A whole habitat has been wiped out, when the new pavements help to get cyclists to the trail by the canal.


I'm amazed planning permission wasn't put out.


Guest's picture

Been fishing down goldendale

Been fishing down goldendale today and ther felling more trees between the pool and old railway, they also put signs all around the fishing pool stating that it is now PRIVATE Fishing and trespassers will be prosocuted. Spoke to the bloke felling the trees (wearing a St Mowden t-shirt) and he said they now own the land and the pool and as far as he knew the pool was due to be filled in in the next few months??? :-(


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