ESTON NAB is one of Teesside’s most famous peaks yet relatively few people visit. It is one of Teesside’s most important historic sites yet few people know it. Most think "The Nab" is the sandstone obelisk and not the rocky summit that it stands upon. Very few know it is a protected archaeological site of national importance. The ironstone mine that once ran beneath is known but not so much that it was the world's biggest and that it made Middlesbrough the world's iron-making capital. As 'World Heritage' there is surely funding out there untapped for Eston Hills?

For too long, the hills have been neglected, abused and ignorance has prevailed. In 2013, the FOEH formed to try and make a difference. The privately-owned Lazenby Bank had just been put up for sale - 212 acres for £425k. The dream was to see it in public hands and a major conservation programme put in action. In 2014, with £15k of public donations, 3 acres at the summit were bought and Eston Nab became fully publicly owned for the first time ever. Buying the rest of the site was beyond us so we decided on an ambitious but more attainable goal to best advance the cause...a new landmark Monument for the Nab.

The first sketches greatly impressed Council bosses who talked of substantial backing. Steve Sherlock, a respected archaeologist, was also open to the possibility of the idea. Historic England said that in exceptional circumstances where a protected site is significantly abused then the restrictions can be relaxed to allow an initiative that could improve the situation; and that an archaeological dig would be a pre-requisite. It was encouraging. Surely losing a small part of the archaeological site for the greater good was worth considering? It could educate thousands. It could lead to thousands in funding. The idea was developed and here now is Mk. #1...


From Mesolithic hunter-gatherers to ironstone miners,
The story of the site told on site to every visitor...

The Monument would also feature a Memorial to the 375 men and boys killed in the mine with a legitimate flag flying in their honour. The hope is that in looking like a war memorial, it would lessen the likelihood of vandalism as well as solve the saga of the illegal flag that has been going on for 3 years (and which hasn't been vandalised). It would become a shrine on an 800ft high plinth to which people would go up to pay their respects, tie flowers to the railings etc. An air of respect and reverence hopefully restored to the site and its surrounds.....

Thanks to SCURATOR LTD for digital imaging.



  UPDATE: 5.10.16  
Thanks to everyone who gave us their feedback. A wide variety of comments and very interesting reading! It was called "visionary" and "a stunning work of art" as well as a "monstrosity" and "the naffest thing ever"! In the main, the idea has been well received but the location not so. The greatest concern was risk of vandalism and that it should be built down in Eston. Others say that it won't get touched and must be up there. Some say it will be inaccessible to older people while others say it will encourage families and kids to get out and up the hills. And there are those who say nature and an archaeological site shouldn't be built on at all. All of these are valid points and appreciated. Without the backing of the vast majority it has no chance of being built up there, whether on the archaeological site or outside of it. While being loath to give in to fear of vandals, the risks have to be accepted and the fact that the new barrier at Lazenby has been ripped out after just a few weeks says it all. It will have to be rejigged and built down in Eston somewhere. It would be safer from vandals though NOT immune! It would be easier and cheaper to build and accessible to all BUT it sadly wouldn't do much for the hills and advancing the cause; and that was the whole point! But it's no surprise, it was a bold idea and bold ideas make the media and as a result so will Mk. 2...watch this space !

CH / 5.10.16