We’ve had a few exploratory walks around Llanfrothen lately, looking at mining remains. The very narrow single track road here bristles with clues, albeit mostly very subtle ones, to the busy industrial past of this area. All of the mine adits and shafts are on private land, and some are extremely dangerous. Relations with the landowner hereabouts rely on goodwill and we didn’t want to spoil that, so contented ourselves for the moment with a reconnoitre.
The first remains that we found in the thick woodland were of the Pant-y-Wrach mine, a fairly extensive working which opens out nearer up towards the ridge into some stoped workings. Shafts abound in the dense undergrowth and it is fatally easy to fall down one, as an unfortunate Penrhyndeudraeth man did several years ago. What a sad story…his body was later found by a mine-explorer, after some considerable time had gone by. Not a place to explore without someone who knows the lie of the land.
The Drainage Level, Bwlch-y-Plwm
The lower adits here are dangerous, certainly not to be entered without proper equipment (including SRT gear) and the requisite know-how… while the upper ones contain shafts to swallow the unwary down to the black abyss below. There are some excellent videos of the mine on the 'net made by very experienced mine explorers, such as Ian Adams, whose video I have linked at the end of the post- or you could wait a little while until I get round to putting our photos up!
We took a lower way back off the ridge and passed several waterwheel pits and a large ore holding pit, impossible to photograph in any meaningful way. I thought about all the mines that criss cross in this hill and what a busy place it must have been. While I would like to travel back in time and solve some of the archaeological mysteries on the ground, I think I would have to take my 1000 lumens lamp…
Ian Adams’ video inside the mine here