The 11/19 pit
The black pyramids of Loos-en-Gohelle
11/19 and its twin slag heaps
As soon as you see these two proud black pyramids, you’ll want to go and find out about their history.
The Loos-en-Gohelle twin slag heaps at Pit 11/19 are the tallest in Europe. In case you wondered, the numbers refer to the former mineshafts, 11 for the metal head frame dating back to the 1920s, and 19 for the concrete concentration column built in 1960. The 11/19 pit at Loos-en-Gohelle is one of the most popular visitor destinations after the Louvre-Lens, and appreciated both for its mining history and its great open spaces which are ideal for walking and sports activities. And it is less than 3km from the Louvre-Lens.
Great ecological diversity
With 159 animal species (including birds, toads and frogs, reptiles, mammals, dragonflies, butterflies, ladybirds, grasshoppers, and crickets) and 190 plant species, the 11/19 slag heaps are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. They act as a little reservoir of peace that is also home to plants from Africa and Australia.
The mission of the CPIE Chaîne des Terrils is to organise guided visits throughout the year explaining how plants and wildlife are developing on the twin slag heaps. Guides who are passionate about the place work here year-round to protect and promote its biodiversity, and they will help you find out about the various different species, such as the unique yellow swallowtail butterfly, or the natterjack toad that likes hiding in puddles.
An ideal leisure zone
What with the Black Pyramids trail event (called the Trail des pyramides noires) and the Mining Area adventure race (known as the Raid Bassin minier), the slag heaps are perfect for sport. Man and nature are one in these sporting events, of which more and more are springing up in the mining area, helping people to discover the slag heaps and their surroundings. The Loos-en-Gohelle 11/9 pit also has all the facilities you need for going out walking with the family, being an ideal place to get away from it all.
What is a slag heap?
There are over 340 slag heaps in the mining area, some of which are suitable for various outdoor activities and have been modified accordingly. A slag heap is a man-made mound of accumulated waste material (or slag) generated by coalmining, composed primarily of various types of schist, and a smaller quantity of carboniferous sandstones and other waste materials.
The CPIE Chaîne des Terrils regularly organises guided visits to discover these wonderful places. Contact them for visit dates and times.
1119 Rue de Bourgogne, 62750 Loos-en-Gohelle - Tel. +33 (0)3 21 28 17 28
The Lens-Liévin Tourism and Heritage Office also organises visits to Pit 11/19 and the “Cité des provinces” miners' housing area, as well as a bus circuit "From the Mine to the Louvre-Lens", stopping off at the slag heaps and Pit 11/19 in Loos-en-Gohelle.
Tel. +33 (0)3 21 67 66 66.
From the A21 motorway:
- Exit 8 (signposted Lens Ouest, Loos-en-Gohelle, Béthune)
- Turn left at the roundabout into rue Léon Blum
- Continue for about one kilometre, then turn left into the western entrance of Pit 11/19.