Soil Surveys, Environmental Assessment & Land Management

Land Research - Case Study

Proposed land reclamation scheme near Wigan

Bickershaw North near Wigan is a 240 ha area of land degraded by the former West Leigh Colliery, the later Bickershaw Colliery and its spoil heaps, and the Albert Opencast Coal Site. Those uses had left a legacy of bare and eroding spoil heaps, partly revegetated spoil heaps, a former coal disposal area, wet and compacted agricultural restorations, subsidence flashes and perennially flooded areas. The restoration plan called for a mixed end use of public open space, golf course, visitor and activity centre and community allotments.


LRA was retained to assess the soils and soil forming materials of the site. This involved assessment of soil materials through a grid-based investigation by auger and spade, laboratory analysis of the main soils and substrates for pH, organic matter and major plant nutrients, and the colliery spoils for oxidisable pyrites.

The results of the study were used to:

  • produce a map dividing the site into land types based on the different soils or soil-forming materials
  • delineate an area of land affected by mining subsidence but with undisturbed natural soils
  • identify land where previous planting or establishment of volunteer vegetation should be retained.
  • produce a matrix giving constraints and suggested mitigation for each main land type

This work together with detailed ecological and land contamination surveys provided the basis for an outline remediation strategy to deliver the required afteruses. This included redistribution of the natural topsoils for golf course fairways, addition of PAS100 compost to enhance the fertility of soils for allotments and addition of lime-rich and organic wastes to restore the bare colliery spoils.

To discuss how we can help you with your restoration project contact us on +44 (0)1509 670570 or email