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Report - Penarth Slate Mine, Wales - May '12

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Xan_Asmodi, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
    Regular User

    Feb 18, 2011
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    Visited with The Kwan
    Bumped into Trancentral and Degenatron

    The site of the Penarth quarry lies just over a mile to the east of Corwen, above and south of the A5 and near 'Pen Y Grog' in the Berwyn range.

    Early working was 'open' but later underground levels were worked. From 1876 the company's solicitors were Guthrie Jones and Jones who dealt with an agreement to search for slate in and under the township of Bonnum within the manor of Rug between, C.H. Wynn and J. Parry Jones and Ed.H. Phillips. A considerable number of people took out £10 shares in the company including the local clergy.
    In 1868 there were 150 men employed but by 1883 there were only 10 men employed working an annual output of about 500 tons.
    The main 'tramway' was in use by 1868 and was 2' 0" gauge, worked on the balance incline mode, single track with a passing loop at the half way point.

    Work had ceased by 1890 but restarted five years later, when a small water powered mill was opened on the exchange wharf near the foot of the incline. This was fed by a dam constructed along-side and to the west of the passing loop. In the accounts for April 1925 money was spent 'rebuilding at slate wharf' - Labour £15, Materials £20.Again, in June 1929 - £25 on rails, fishplates and keys. £15 on sleepers and £30 on a winding drum.

    By the 1900's the quarry was in the hands of the 'Corwen Slate Quarry Co' and output had risen to 1700 tons. A new mill was built at the quarry in 1904 powered by a 12hp Blackstone oil engine and in 1909 a Hornsby 40 hp gas engine was employed to "supply forced air", also, an unusual large reciprocating oil engine shot-saw regarded as a rarity in Welsh slate mining.
    With the installation of the internal combustion engines additional workings for the tramway wagons were to haul fuel up to the quarry. By the 1930's only slab slate was produced.

    In the last years a rough and very steep road led up to the workings but presumably not for slate shipment.
    Today the quarry lies open to the wildlife, birds of prey nest safely up in the crags while nature, very gradually, attempts to soften mans industry.

    Many buildings remain in various stages of dilapidation. These include dressing sheds, a mill containing remnants of overhead shafting etc and a motor room. Traces of sand saw installations can be seen in places, including discarded blades and the associated drainage. Remains of the shot saw installation are clearly visible, together with machinery mounting plinths and saw carriage. Other artefacts include a compressed gas or air cylinder, piping, a partially buried vessel and remains of a number of wagons and rail.

    The main incline top is interesting as it had horizontal sheaves. Much of the mechanism remains in place including the sheaves, brake rod, handle, a ratchet device, table and lengths of wire rope.

    This is an abridged version of the history found HERE.

    Our trip was quite nice, walking along the foot path up the side of the hill. The last part was a killer, some parts steeper than 1 in 3! :eek:

    The view from the top was well worth it though...

    Time to do what we came for. Mines! The first views weren't that impressive, we headed left, into an unknown tunnel.

    We came across an immense gallery

    Whilst taking photos, we heard voices and saw lights. I'll let Degenatron describe what happened:

    We headed up the incline

    to a nice little winch

    We headed back down the incline to continue our explore, not before I went on my arse. I had a lovely scrape down my arm from where it grated down the rusty rail. Noice

    Looking back up the incline with the chained down cart



    We found a lovely passing point/sidings

    The mine itself is immense. A couple of photos for scale



    The incline from earlier for scale

    We headed into the sun and out of the mine; what a vista greeted us.

    We then looked around the surface remains, only taking a few snaps

    Thank you VERY much to The Kwan for providing the transport and excellent company (as always)
    Thank you for looking :thumb

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