Nodding donkeys are visible around Gainsborough and Beckingham providing a clue to the areas important onshore oil field.
The long and varied geological history of the East Midlands has resulted in the formation of a number of oil fields across the area. The Gainsborough and Beckingham oil field is one of the largest of these, covering an area of over 13 square kilometres. A significant part of the fields lie around 1,400 metres beneath Gainsborough and the River Trent.
The resource was discovered in Gainsborough in 1959 and in Beckingham in 1964. Gainsborough is home to Britains first deviated wells which were constructed to tap oil resources lying directly below the town and the river. In 1969 this was the the most productive single oil field in Britain.
Star Energy own the 29 producing wells on the Gainsborough-Beckingham oil field, yielding some 1,000 barrels a day. Oil is brought to the surface using pumps ('nodding donkeys') and temporarily stored before being piped to a central collecting point near Gainsborough. Road tankers then take the crude oil to refineries on the Humber.