Report - - Maenofferen Slate Quarry April 2013 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Maenofferen Slate Quarry April 2013


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
As the weather has got a little bit better I thought it was time to go out and get the camera dirty again, and that I did.

After seeing last years brilliant reports by Xan, Kwan, Littlest Jelly fish etc, this place was high on the list. Myself and Trancentral spent hours exploring the workshops, the quarry, loads of tunnels that mostly did not go anywhere much and the surrounding areas. It was absolutely knackering.

A bit of History first (from Wikipedia)

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.
On with the photos. The historical photos have been borrowed from aditnow.co.uk I will get rid of them if theres a problem.


Date unknown






Lots of machinery is still in place.


A pair of shunters


Nothing a spray of WD40 wont sort out.


The contents of an outside store


A maintenance workshop


Signs of metal theft


Old lathe. Check out the date on the wall next to it.




Somebodys been creative


A very neatly drilled tunnel that goes not very far


Nothing to see in there


I think the large filled hole on the left may well have been an entrance to the main underground workings. You would have to be mad to attempt to get in now.


A couple of these where near by. This part of the site is still very much active. I think if we had turned up on a week day we would have been chased by angry mountain men.


One tunnel we explored had these amazing icicles at the end!



This is the tunnel we should have checked out but we whimped out due to unsuitable footwear.:gay After seeing The Kwans video, I wish I had got my feet wet.


Sorry, it just had to be done.


As you may gather, we walked back through the workshops.



Another tunnel to nowhere


The greenery in the entrance was crying out to be photographed.


Getting fed up of dead end tunnels now. Whats in here?


A T junction. One way is blocked and the other is flooded and appears to go back out. Trancentral takes the opportunity to get his feet for the last time.


Right, we are out of here. Thanks for looking. Until next time, Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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