The Bolton Loop - Towns and Villages

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Towns and Villages

Cumbria Railways - Aspatria Main Street


When the vikings invaded the Solway coast it is thought the town was named Asc Patric which meant Patrick's Ash. Others say it was named Gos Patric after the Earl of Northumberland. Many years before the Vikings came to this part of Cumbria much of the land was made up of forests with the lower land being made up of marshland, bogs and swamps.

It was from these wet areas that the West cumberland coalfield was formed which streches from Whitehaven and beyond Aspatria to Wigton. Pits were in operation in the area around Aspatria up to the early 1900's with the last large pit at Aspatria being Brayton Domain No5 which at its peak employed 1,060 pepole and closed in 1940.

The Bolton Loop which left the main Maryport Carlisle railway at Aspatria serviced the mine at Brayton Domain No3 at Harriston just outside Aspatria. The Bolton Loop also had sidings to the Old Domain tile Works in Aspatria and a tramway left the Bolton Loop before Harriston which serviced Thrush Gill Quarry near Plumbland.


The village of Mealsgate grew up along an old Roman road. It is north of the river Ellen and next to the pit village of Fletchertown. "Speatry loup out" was the shout to third class passengers when the train arrived at Aspatria from Mealsgate. Second class passengers were told "Speattry change ere for Mealsyat" with First class passengers were informed "Aspatriah, change yeah for Mealsgate". The station at Mealsgate is now a private house and the branch line to the Bolton Colliery (now a caravan park) is now built on but its traces still remain.


Many people comment on why were these rows of terraced houses built with the reason being this was the pit village for the Allhallows mine which closed in 1927. The site of the old mine and its spoil heaps is now overgrown which is very sad to see when you think that 447 pepole worked there in 1896 at its peak. The village has still retained its charm and new industrial units have now sprung up on the edge of the village.


The station has long since dissapeared at Baggrow and new houses have sprung up on its original site. Just outside the village was Brayton Knowe colliery which opened in 1902 and closed in 1917. Produce from Sir Wilfred Lawson's Brayton Estate was sent down the Bolton Loop to Aspatria for local markets.


Joseph Harris sank Brayton Domain pit in 1868 which remained in production until 1902. The colliery village of Harriston named after Mr Harris had its own Co-op, school, Mission Hall, recreation rooms and Bowling club. The old village was demolished in the 1970's and new house were built by the local council.

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