micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

Snowdonia's Slate & Copper Mines

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Llechwedd Slate Caverns & Sygun Copper Mine: Holiday June 2018 - page 2

Snowdonia in North Wales has been a National Park since 1951 and is a magnet for outdoor leisure pursuits, but the area was once a hive of industrial activity.  On this page we explore a couple of mines and quarries: the amazing Llechwedd Slate Caverns at Blanau Ffestiniog where we enjoy both an overground and an underground guided tour of its slate heritage, and Sygun Copper Mine in Beddgelert for a delve into its former underground workings along winding tunnels...
This is page two of three.
Snowdonia | Snowdonia mines | Snowdonia Railways
 

Llechwedd Slate Caverns visitor centre
Here's the Llechwedd Slate Caverns visitor centre and the mist-shrouded hills behind, rising to 457m (1,500 ft), was where we were headed for the...

Quarry Explorer truck at Llechwedd
...Quarry Explorer tour (since rebranded Slate Mountain Adventure tour), courtesy of this rugged 4x4 military type truck.  After getting the lowdown...

Snowdonia: guide describing slate quarrying at Llechwedd
...from our driver and guide we were off to see some of Llechwedd's 2,000 acre quarrying sites.  The truck often stopped and our guide jumped out to vividly describe how slate has been quarried...

Quarry summit, Blanau Ffestiniog
...at Blanau Ffestiniog for some 300 years, demand driven by the Industrial Revolution.  It sure was a bumpy ride up to the man-made quarry summit to what seemed like an abandoned village in the...

Slate mine working buildings at Llechwedd Slate Caverns
...middle of nowhere.  Unfortunately we didn't manage to see the amazing view across North Wales due to the adverse weather, but were able to walk among the disused Victorian mine working buildings.  Our...

Guide on the Quarry Explorer tour
...guide described how the tops were blasted off 100-year-old caverns, creating massive craters that turned old mines into quarries and enabling even more slate to be extracted.  As the Quarry Explorer...

Decending Llechwedd's slate quarries
...truck descended through the Llechwedd slate quarries we passed some of the current workings.  The enlightening Quarry Explorer tour lasted...

Deep Mine tour buildings at Blanau Ffestiniog
about 1½ hours.  After lunch in Llechwedd's visitor centre café we made for Britain’s steepest cable railway and the Deep Mine tour, first...

Visitor display at Llechwedd
...getting kitted up in a fetching safety helmet.  In the waiting area we learnt that Blanau Ffestiniog is described as 'the town that roofed the world'.  Soon...

Decending Britain’s steepest cable railway at Llechwedd
...we boarded the cosy rail car and descended deep into the slate mine which extends down 16 floors and almost 400m (1400 ft) to sea level.  The...

Huge cavern on the Deep Mine tour
... caverns were enormous!  The Deep Mine...

Slate mining in Snowdonia
...tour was very hands-on and the guides invited us to experience the hard work of Victorian era miners and have go at drilling out some slate.

Now the geology bit: Slate was formed 500 million years ago when mud and clay deposits on an ancient seabed were compacted at high temperature during continental shifts.  We...

Underground tunnel at Llechwedd Slate Caverns
...carefully made our way through the impressive hand-cut tunnel systems that run for over 20 miles; we walked only a fraction of that before...

Llechwedd Slate Caverns: sound and light sequences
...emerging into a spectacular underground lake for some amazing sound and light sequences depicting Victorian mining conditions.  The...

Llechwedd Slate Caverns slate splitting demonstration
...final part was, of course, a fascinating slate splitting demonstration.  From its Victorian heyday slate production declined after WW2 and in 1975 Llechwedd Slate Caverns tourist attraction was launched - and we can heartedly recommend a visit!

North-west Wales' slate landscape has been chosen as the UK's next preferred nomination for World Heritage Site status in 2019.  Before...

Slate spoil towers at Blanau Ffestiniog
...we left we took a look across the vast heaps of slate spoil towers, created by 90% of the rock extracted from the mines and quarries being discarded - shocking!  Today, slate is also used for ground moisture retention, in cosmetics and housewares.

The Quarry Explorer and Deep Mine tours combined cost us £30 each on our 2018 visit to Llechwedd Slate Caverns at Blanau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia.

River Glaslyn at Beddgelert
On another day in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park we travelled to the pretty village of Beddgelert on the steam train.  A popular tourist village straddling the River Glaslyn, just outside is...

Beddgelert's Sygun Copper Mine
...Sygun Copper Mine, nicely situated overlooking the Gwynant valley.  Apart from slate, copper ore was the other main mineral mined in this part of North Wales.  The walking mine tour...

Safety helmets for the Sygun Copper Mine tour
...is self-paced and safety helmets are provided to protect denting one's head from contact with the low tunnel roofs.  Don't we look lovely?  Off into..

Entering Sygun Copper Mine
...the mine then, with three levels of old workings and a year-round temperature of around 9°C - brrr.  In the first cavern...

Stalactites and Stalagmites at Sygun Copper Mine
...we admired these Stalactites and Stalagmites, formed by water trickling through the old tunnels after the copper mine was abandoned in 1903.  Pressing...

Another view inside Sygun Copper Mine at Beddgelert
...that green button down there fired up the audio-visual presentation, bringing to life that Sygun copper miner and his tails of a miner's life.  We...

Sygun Copper Mine
...made our way through the mine, learning that tunnels were dug lower to get to deeper copper rich veins in the mountain as demand increased during the Industrial Revolution.  Presently we...

Sygun Copper Mine top level tunnel
...hit the third level at Sygun Copper Mine ... and saw daylight at the end of the tunnel!  Our mine tour took around 40 mins and cost £8.95 on our 2018 visit.  So we soon emerged...

Beddgelert: Sygun Copper Mine, Victoria level
...at the mine's Victoria Level, and another button for a final audio-visual - and, erm, wonderful mountain view down the Gwynant valley...

Gwynant valley view from Sygun Copper Mine at Beddgelert
...before following the short mountain path back to the Sygun Copper Mine visitor centre.  On the way there's a gold panning activity place.  Back at the...

Sygun Copper Mine: museum of antiquities
...visitor centre we ditched the hard hats and took a look around the interesting museum of antiquities, detailing the copper mining history at Sygun.

 

Facilities at Sygun Copper Mine include a picnic area, coffee and gift shop and kids activities.

We also visited the National Slate Museum in Llanberis to learn more about Snowdonia's slate mining heritage.

For more on the places we visited in Snowdonia check out our UK tourism resources.

Now, see how we got to Beddgelert on the Welsh Highland Railway and take another heritage train on the Great Orme Tramway at Llandudno >>>

 

You may be interested to view our visits to Geevor Tin Mine in Cornwall and Clearwell Caves in Forest of Dean.