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Thread: Dinas Upper, Middle & Lower Silica Mines, South Wales - September 2012

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    Default Dinas Upper, Middle & Lower Silica Mines, South Wales - September 2012


    HISTORY

    The area around Pontneddfechan at the head of the Vale of Neath is one of very few in the world where sandstone has been extensively worked in underground mines. But then this is a very special sort of sandstone.

    In the steep walls of the gorges of the Nedd Fechan, the Afon Mellte and the Sychryd are exposed beds of a very hard and pure sandstone which have come to be known as 'the Silica rock'. It is in fact the lowermost of a whole family of such beds which collectively are termed the 'Millstone Grit' - a gritstone is simply a sandstone formed from coarse angular grains of quartz or 'silica'. It is the purity of these rocks - almost 100% silica (SiO2) - that made them a target for miners from the 18th to the 20th century. The burgeoning industries of industrial South Wales needed large numbers of heat-resistant bricks to line the furnaces in which copper and iron-smelting took place. Only bricks made from more or less pure silica could stand the intense temperatures without shattering.



    The silica rock was worked through a series of adits - horizontal mine passages driven into the side of the hill - both behind Craig-y-ddinas and on either side of the Nedd Fechan upstream of Pontneddfechan. In both cases tramways were forced through difficult terrain to these mine entrances to permit horse-drawn drams to take away the rock to the brick works. An early factory was built by Messrs Frederick and Jenner at Dinas Bridge and a works was later established at Pont Walby near Glyn-neath.

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    Last edited by cunningcorgi; 25th Sep 12 at 20:05.

  2. Thanks given by: Bones out, Captain-Slow, flyboys90, Hendreforgan, oldscrote
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    I get claustrophobic just looking at those. Bits of wood seemingly propping up the rock above isnt my idea of fun

    Saying that, those are stunning photos. I'm happy looking at them through my screen though!
    Why go through a door when there's a perfectly good window?
    www.derelict-omj.co.uk

  5. Thanks given by: cunningcorgi
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    Quote Originally Posted by UE-OMJ View Post
    I get claustrophobic just looking at those. Bits of wood seemingly propping up the rock above isnt my idea of fun

    Saying that, those are stunning photos. I'm happy looking at them through my screen though!
    Ahhh, these ones aren't that bad as it goes.

    The big prop on the incline is more likely there to stop any runaway drams going smack into the bottom level than for support !

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    Quaility photos thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks given by: cunningcorgi
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    Nice. It was seeing the previous report of this place by you & your croonies made me take a wander up there

    I really must put the effort in and go back

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  10. Thanks given by: cunningcorgi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain-Slow View Post
    Nice. It was seeing the previous report of this place by you & your croonies made me take a wander up there

    I really must put the effort in and go back

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    will ring you weekendish mate plans afoot

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