Moira is a former mining village in North West Leicestershire. It derives its name from the Irish earldom of Moira, one of the titles of the Hastings family, whose castle was in nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The former colliery, Rawdon, also bore a Hastings family name.
North West Leicestershire has for centuries been quarried and mined for coal, limestone, granite and brick clay, and its environmental damage was one of the reasons that it was chosen as the site for the National Forest, which is part of a Government-funded programme to create more woodland.
The 120-acre National Forest Millennium Discovery Centre - now called CONKERS - is on the former Rawdon Colliery site, and its visitor centre features a novel borehole based heating and cooling system.
Another legacy of the area's industrial heritage is the Moira Furnace, a restored 19th century blast furnace. A 2.5 km section of the Ashby Canal adjacent to the furnace has also been restored and refilled, although it lacks a navigable link to the rest of the system due to the A42 having been built across its line. The furnace site also includes craft workshops and a small nature reserve.
Rawdon Colliery, unlike many British pits, was not closed as a result of the Government's programme in the mid-1980s, following the Miners' Strike, but simply ran out of viable coal seams. The seams, which extended six miles from the shaft, had been worked for some 150 years, and some had been worked twice, recovering lower grade coal.
The history of the site meant that gases were rarely a hazard, but spontaneous combustion of coal dust was a potential problem.