Bryn-glas Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, December 2021

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HughieD

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1. The History
Bryn Glas is a small slate quarry, located approximately 5km south-east of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, North Wales. Slate extraction began in the 1890s and continued for just three decades before the quarry's closure in the 1920s. It was then briefly reworked in the 1960s by William Edwards (Wil Band) and Ifor Lloyd Jones & partners, until closing for a second time in 1967. At the time of its final closure, the mill had one sawing table and one dressing machine. The later was powered by a Petters two-stroke oil engine which then went to Dwr Oer quarry, just to the east of Bethania, after closure. When Dwr Oer closed in 1974 the engine was bought by a local engine enthusiast and survives until today.

The earliest workings appear to be below the main site, where a mine entrance and spoil tips can be found. The main site consists of a quarry and two adits, spoil tips and a large mill and associated buildings. A tramway was used to transport the slate down to the road for onward transport to Llan Ffestiniog and beyond. The mill was steam-powered and the reservoir and leat that supplied the boiler remain.

A second site, higher up and to the south-east of the main adit was connected to the main quarry and mill by tram road. It comprised of a deep quarry and an adit, later re-used as a tunnel for removal of material, together with spoil tips.

Old O/S map of the site showing the lower workings and mill (A) and the upper workings (B):

Bryn Glas by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
Visited one morning when the weather was pretty terrible. The wind was blowing, propelling the occasion light rain directly into my face, the clouds were pretty low too and visibility poor. I took the service track down to the reservoir in the blowing gale then looped round to the left down the very marshy valley of the Nat Lynn-y-morwynion. The site soon appeared to my left out of the cloud and once I’d negotiated the gushing stream and fence, I soon climbed up the band to the level. Not too much to report in terms of the surface remains but having entered into the mine through it’s main adit, I was soon greeted by the peace and calm of the initial chamber. At the back there was a smaller chamber from which the adit continued with lovely mineralisation on the walls. It soon got to a junction. The left turn went to small mined out chamber which was very photogenic. Retracing my steps, I went down the right-hand turn. This soon came to a dead end, so I made my way back out.

Overall, then, a pretty small slate mine that doesn’t get much attention. However, sometimes small is beautiful and places like this are easier to take in than some of the other larger slate mining behemoths in the local area.

3. The Pictures

The first man-made structures were these to stone huts by the reservoir. Not too sure if they were anything to do with the mine:





Further down the valley:



The slate tips come into view. At this stage the weather was a bit ‘close’:



Remains of the mill:



Engine mounting block:



On to the adit:



Looks like the remains of a slate kart:



And we’re in:



What a lovely sight:



The rusting of the can:





Block lifting tackle:







And to the back to the left:





Onward we go:



Some lovely mineralisation:









And to the junction, left turn:



And on to the chamber:





 

Hayman

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A lot of good photos here. Is that a hawser/steel wire lying on the ground in many of the underground photos? And there is what looks to be a pipe or conduit attached to the side wall of one adit. What might that have been for?
 

HughieD

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A lot of good photos here. Is that a hawser/steel wire lying on the ground in many of the underground photos? And there is what looks to be a pipe or conduit attached to the side wall of one adit. What might that have been for?
Many thanks. The pipe would have been for the compressed air for the drills.
 

Hayman

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Many thanks. The pipe would have been for the compressed air for the drills.
That makes sense - with the right angle turns. Perhaps the scrap value was not worth the effort to recover it.
 

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