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Dorothea Quarry, Nantile Valley, North Wales, July 2020

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HughieD

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Located in the Nantlle Valley in North Wales, quarrying at Dorothea commenced in 1929 under the ownership of William Turner and John Morgan. From 1853 onwards the quarry was owned by the Williams family up until its closure in 1970. The quarry was one of the first users of the 3 ft 6 in Nantlle Railway in 1828 and later developed an extensive internal tramway system of 2ft gauge.

By 1848 it had become the dominant quarry in the area, employing 200 men and producing 5,000 tons of finished slate per annum from its six pits (the deepest over 100m). With slate veins running vertically it allowed the quarrying of deep pits taking them below the water table. Hence, they were subject to flooding and required constant pumping out to keep them dry. Production peaked in 1872 at over 17,000 tons. Due to the quarry flooding, a Cornish beam engine was installed in 1904 to pump the pits. The engine was able to pump 10 gallons of water per second from a depth of over 500 feet. It stayed in use until 1951 when it was replaced with 60-HP electric pumps, but remains in situ in its Grade I listed engine house

In the 1930s over 350 men were employed at Dorothea however production dropped significantly after the start of World War II. The quarry struggled on post-war for three decades before closing in 1969.

Couple of archive picture of the engine house:

Dorothea by HughieDW, on Flickr

20200820_005506 by HughieDW, on Flickr

After its closure, the quarrying flooded and become a popular spot for scuba diving. The quarry is considered to be dangerous, so swimming is banned. Its dangers have been born out by the 25 divers that lost their lives here up to 2014.It remains a popular dive site. Here’s a Youtube video of one group’s dives:



2. The Explore
Nice easy one this. Parked up due west of the quarry, followed the footpath then when I hit the lake walked round it in a clockwise direction. It’s a really beautiful spot for a wander for a couple of hours. Sadly, the engine house was sealed tight as a tin of sardines but the boilers at the back were really photogenic.

3. The Pictures

Starting point of the circular walk:

img7442 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In we go:

img7404 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

These tiles were a bit of a surprise:

Dorothea Quarry 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the shell of what must have been some sort of admin building:

Dorothea Quarry 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7413 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Loving the arches:

Dorothea Quarry 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Yet another slate house:

Dorothea Quarry 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a row of them:

img7422 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the farmhouse is just a shell:

Dorothea Quarry 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In the upper reaches of the quarry:

Dorothea Quarry 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7430 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7432 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Maybe not too close to that edge:

img7426 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7429 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An old chimney reaches for the sky:

img7423 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More old house shells:

img7435 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7436 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not too close to the edge:

img7418 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This little tunnel was impressive:

Dorothea Quarry 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Base of one of the pyramids:

img7425 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More very old buildings that are now just a shell:

Dorothea Quarry 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Dorothea Quarry 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Onto the engine house:

img7457 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7455 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7448 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The clock face looks a bit worse-for-wear:

img7447 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Construction date stone:

img7454 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And round the back, the two very big boilers:

Dorothea Quarry 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7450 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7449 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a final shot of the engine house poking its head out:

img7459 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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