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Report - - Maenofferen slate mine oct 17 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Maenofferen slate mine oct 17


monk

mature
Regular User
Having moved into the area this was top of my list to check out, we did a flying visit earlier in the year but wanted to come back and explore underground some more as we was short on time before.

ive done quite abit of underground stuff over the years but this has to be in my top five, the sheer scale of the place is unbelievable, some parts feel as if the whole mountain is hollow, there's passages leading of in all directions with slope shafts down to different levels, none of us had a great knowledge of the place which was ace as we actually had to explore it, rather than follow someone who knows the route.

We spent about 5 hours underground in all but it wasnt enough, a return trip is a must.

[qutoe]Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex.

In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following year.

During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear.

In 1908 the company leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there.

In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd Quarry and reaching agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws.

Modern untopping operations at Maenofferen. The uncovered chambers of the Bowydd workings are clearly visible
In 1928 Maenofferen purchased the Rhiwbach Quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953.

When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946, Maenofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962 slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in use until at least the 1980s.

The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.[/quote]

top side
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underground, half way down looking back up.

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A selection of pictures from the 2nd visit, we got al ot further in this time and spent a little bit longer on the photos.

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sparky and my boy Alex

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Follow the tracks so we dont get lost

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mr bones dmax alex and sparky have a rest by one of the lakes

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slippery slate steps, mr bones head torch showing the way

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A scramble down a slate pile with dmax and alex, mr bones and sparky
light the top
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Fluffy5518

28DL Member
28DL Member
Without a doubt an absolutely top notch explore !! Have been here three times now and it still scares the crap outta me !! Some lovely pics mate !!
 

wormster

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Shame to see most of the topside is trashed, I can remember when the Lamp Room and DC converters were intact!!
 

wormster

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Shame to see most of the topside is trashed, I can remember when the Lamp Room and DC converters were intact!!
 

mw0sec

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I keep meaning to visit this as I live not too far away on Anglesey. The only thing that has put me off so far, is that it looks like a rather long walk to get to the best bit!
 

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