Friday, 9 March 2012

A Roam Around Rhiw Goch

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This expedition was meant as a recce, to see if we could get in to the Cae Fali woods, above the valley of the Ddwyryd, and approach the so far undiscovered Cae Fali mine from that direction. We did get in to the woods, but we found a different mine.
There’s a track goes off parallel to the railway, above the level crossing at the top of Penrhyndeudraeth. This is a good spot for train lovers as the Ffestiniog railway runs close by for a couple of miles as you walk further along to the north west. Views of the valley below and the distant Moelwyns open out as you head along. Once out of the forestry, the surroundings change to a classic mining landscape, with suspicious dips and lumps in the ground, left and right.  Soon enough, we reached an adit, almost flooded to the roof, and a trial in an outcrop of rock. There’s no evidence of a siding from the railway here, so perhaps these workings pre-date the Ffestiniog railway.

SAM_3048 (749x1024) The flooded adit, left…and the trial, below.SAM_3049 (1024x692)
After about a mile and a half of uphill walking, Rhiw Goch Farm is reached. Take the left trackway in the farm, to the side of a holiday cottage with an old cast iron mangle sitting in front of it. A gate opens up into a field, again with all the classic signs of mining activity; in fact, there’s an adit immediately to the left. Walled up, sadly, but I suppose it is very close to a footpath and would constitute a temptation too far for children, or sheep!

The mangle, below…blocked adit ,right.SAM_3053 (805x1024) SAM_3056 (768x1024)
Curiosity overcame us, too, so we followed the footpath left, steeply uphill at this point, past dry stone loading banks and ruins.  The top of the site was soon reached and we turned right, following the line of trees. Here there are many holes, filled in shafts and a couple of run-in adits, in fact the place is littered with evidence of activity. The spoil tips showed evidence of calchopyrites and also galena. On the remains of the cobbing floor, there were a great many small pieces of rubble where the rock had been chipped, probably by a team of women workers, in order to gain the ore.
These mines are obviously on the same lode as the nearby Pant-y-Wrach mine on the Llanfrothen side of the hill; they may even interconnect, although it’s impossible to tell now as all the entrances are run-in here. There is a very long drive underground from that mine, but I will have to research a little further. Our free time was running out on this adventure, but we had found a way to access the Cae Fali woods, and found some mines into the bargain!
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Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Iain. Like the mangle!

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks, Graham!

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