Hafod Uchaf, on the slopes of Moelwyn Bach at SH643434, is an interesting little mine. We visited it in January 2011, but if you feel tempted, don't try the route that we did. Starting off, for some reason which escapes me now, from the Tan-y-Bwlch station car park, we walked up the shoulder of the Moelwyn on a switchback forest road. The views all the way up were fabulous, but the road wound on and on for over four conifer kerfuffled miles. Reaching the location, we had to fight through some thick Sitka and climb over a couple of barbed wire fences, finally emerging in the lovely little hidden valley where the mine lies.
|There's an adit in there somewhere...|
|Remains of the forge at Pen-y-Ffridd|
Perhaps because of the wintry light, the place was reminiscent of something from the Lord of the Rings; outside everything was still and only the Ravens could be heard, their wings "wuffing" over the trees. Inside the low, wide chambers, there was an eerie feeling, almost as if the place was watching us as we explored. We found an adit at the back of one of the chambers - it descended in a wide spiral and ended in a flooded shaft, the headgear still in place. It was strange to be in such a claustrophobic space when the rest of the mine was so spacious.
Factoid wise, Pen-y-Ffridd or Llanrhychwyn, was operating from 1786. It probably closed around 1865 and must have exported slate to the quay at Trefriw, presumably by cart. There are no traces of a railway ever having been on site, or a mill for that matter. Grass and trees have grown completely over the tips so that, apart from the dark holes of the chambers hiding under the trees, it takes a keen mine exploring eye to spot that there has ever been a mine here.
|Like the lost mines of Moria...Pen-y-Ffridd|