The “Reter” and the Mine Towers (Headframes)
The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage has included Pozo Sotón among the 100 most representative heritage elements in Spain.
Among the facilities of Pozo Sotón, the two towers, the RETER that surrounds the towers and the machinery room and Trade Union office were declared a Site of Cultural Interest in the Monument category in 2014.
The Cultural Heritage Law of the Principality of Asturias, 2001, provides for the adaptation of the facility and of the surrounding area of the Monument in order to cater for visits, expressly indicating: “in the case of properties declared of Cultural Interest, the owners or holders of the rights to the said properties must set aside a minimum of four days each month, for at least four hours each day, for public visits”.
In compliance with this Law, the company HUNOSA organises free tours of the Pozo Sotón facilities within the terms established. Visitors are accompanied at all times by a guide who will provide the necessary information and ensure the safety of the people.
The route planned will begin at the current office building (meeting point), opposite which a brief introduction to Coal Mining in Asturias going back to 1592 will be provided.
Then, we shall head towards the gardens, where the information will focus on the “Cathedral of Coal Mining in Asturias”, i.e. Pozo Sotón. We shall explain its origins, evolution and mention the various owners of the mine until it was taken over by HUNOSA.
Visitors will then make their way towards the mining towers focussing on their designer, a then unknown foreign engineer called… Gustave Eiffel. The visit to the surface facilities will be affected by the weather and, therefore, the cold or heat, the wind or dampness may make the visit more or less demanding.
Reference will be made to the pitheads belonging to the most primitive operation of the mine, when it was a “mountain” mine, i.e. there was no vertical shaft into the mine.
We shall also visit the area around the mine shaft that came to be used by 1,500 miners to access the pit. This is where the cages are located, which are still in use.
After this, all that is left is to enjoy the mega-structure surrounding the towers, the RETER, a pioneering coal sorting system, a forerunner of modern rollercoasters where the wagons loaded with coal that came out of the mine travelled automatically to the unloading area (hoppers) where, thanks to the force of gravity, they once again proceeded to the shaft to enter the mine once again.
Finally, and before returning to the starting point, we shall visit the warehouse and light room where, apart from the relevant technical explanations, you will learn surprising things and historical anecdotes unknown to the general public.
The free tour includes access to production areas that feature industrial and mining facilities and elements that may affect the free movement of people. Visitors must pay attention at all times to the various obstacles that may exist on the ground or on walls.
El recorrido exterior está supeditado a las inclemencias del tiempo, por lo que pueden presentarse condiciones de frío o calor, aire, humedad que pueden hacer que las circunstancias de la visita sean más exigentes.
The tour will be guided by HUNOSA personnel and will include a group of 25 people maximum. The number of people may be increased depending on the availability of HUNOSA personnel.
Consequently, in order to take the tour, visitors must meet certain basic physical requirements.
The tour has not been adapted for people with reduced mobility. There are railway tracks on the ground and uneven surfaces.
Bringing food inside the compound is strictly forbidden.
Smoking is not allowed inside the facilities, either.
Every Tuesday of the year (except public holidays) in two shifts: one at 09:30 and the other at 11:30.