Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bwlch y Ddeufaen East Quarry

Situated high above the roman road that runs between Caerhun (Canovium) to Caernarfon (Segontium) this little quarry nestles between the Carneddau outliers of Foel Lwyd and Tal y Fan at SH726717.  There are no records, but this site and the two others to the west are thought to be of ancient origin, although not as old as the road which winds up over the bwlch, between two standing stones that give it the name, Bwlch Ddeufaen, or pass of the two stones.

There are signs of hand working on the tip and some broken moss slates, not machine shaped but riven. There may be the remains of a ruined wal. However, further up the slope of Foel Lwyd is what looks to be the remains of a powder house. In the two pits here, one above the other, there are no signs of explosives being used, no jwmpr marks, just signs of crowbarring and pegging. It must have been a wild site to work, despite the views over to Drum (770m)  in the south west and Pen y Castell (623m) in the south being spectacular. It may be, as the Slate Gazeteer says, this was a quarry worked on an ad hoc basis over a considerable number of years.

The working area, with wal on the tip.

The country rock here is granite, with mica rich shales and other metamorphosed rock overlaying the slate. The impressive drystone dykes that snake over the moor are built from it, while the shapes of weather blasted tors on the mountain peaks echo the wall tops. An astonishing variety of lichen grows on these walls in the clean air. Even the presence of pylons, marching in the valley below, failed to mar the unspoilt feeling of  this upland moor. The first rays of the springtime sun warmed out faces as we walked down from the quarry, providing some warmth at last for the new born lambs in the fields. We hope to be back to explore this area again before those lambs are very much older.

The tip, with a granite tor in the foreground.

The Pit, with snow lying in the shade.

A lichen encrusted rock in the wall.


Anonymous said...

Nice lichens!

Love the earthy tones in the top photo.

Iain Robinson said...

Thanks, Graham. Quite an astonishing variety of lichens on one site.

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