Report - - Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry, Talysarn, North Wales, July 2020 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry, Talysarn, North Wales, July 2020


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
Pen-yr-orsedd Slate Quarry is located near the village of Talysarn in the Nantlle valley in North Wales. It was first developed in 1816 as an open working, and subsequently, under the ownership of the Darbishire family, mills were built on three successive levels. The first mill was built in 1860 and two years later in 1862 the first connection to the 3 ft 6 in Nantlle railway was made which extended to all but the highest levels of the quarry. This allowed the carriage of slate to the quay at Caernarfon. A second integrated mill was added in 1870. In 1882 the number of men employed at the quarry had reached 230 men with an annual output of over 8,000 tons. Output further increased in the 1890s when a larger upper mill was built in 1898 as employment increased to over 600 men.

The quarry consisted of a series of pits and a series of four aerial ropeways known as 'Blondins' and their Bruce Peebles electrical equipment which were installed in 1906. These were able to lift trucks of slate from the pit and bring them to the side of the mills for processing. This film here shows them in action:

Blondins @ Penrhyn Slate Quarry

By 1937, despite the decline of the Welsh slate industry, there were still 351 workers employed at the site. When the Nantlle railway closed in 1963 road transport took over. It also the last quarry in the vale that commercially produced slate until its closure in 1979. The quarry remained in subsequent use, albeit on as small scale, and a lorry road was built down into one pit, rendering the ‘Blondins’ obsolete. After then until production ceased completely in about 2000 and the site has been abandoned ever since, bar the top-level mill which was used for storage.

2. The Explore
After the awesomeness of Maenofferen, nothing really could top it, perhaps with the exception of Dinorwic. Hence, I wasn’t expecting too much from this place. I’d seen it on Google Maps and then searched out a few reports and it looked alright so thought I’d give it a look. So early one sunny July morning I set off on the half hour drive north to Talysarn, parked up and walked up the approach road. It was about as big a contrast to my visit to Maenofferen as there could be. And worth the effort it was. Despite the top mill being sealed there was loads to see here. The remains of the middle mill were massive and the tiny winding house at the top of the quarry stunning and the intact ‘Blondins’ a bonus. So not as epic as Maenofferen but highly recommended if you are in the area. Apologies in advance for there being too many pictures!

3. The Pictures

One of the first buildings you come to is the bottom winding house:

The weighbridge:

Behind the weighbridge are the remains of the original mill from 1860. It’s pretty far gone but really photogenic:

Got a bit carried away here:

Looking up to the mid-level:

Moving up to the mid-levels:

The Rook-ter-ry:

It’s pretty extensive:

Mid-level winding house:

The top-level mill hanging above the mid-levels:

On to the workshops:

This mini turntable was really cute:

Incline up to the top level:

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28DL Regular User
Regular User

At the top of the quarry looking over the valley:

And the mid-level:

Top level incline winding house:

Sheep exit right:

Not too sure what’s going on here at the gable end of the top-level mill:

Peeking inside the locked up top mill:

Pylon of one of the remaining “Blondins”:

Ey up, secca have spotted me:

Love this slate hearth dated 1909:

A small quarry hut:

And its heater:

Looking over into the main quarry pits:

This bit looks like a scene from the Huangshan Mountain in China!

Some of the quarry pit’s winding gear:

And on to the best bit of the site - the quarry pit’s winding house:

Got even more carried away here:

On the way back down found this amazing banded block of slate:

There was also one small building that was secured up to the nines with metal sheeting. There was a hole in the roof so used a pallet as a makeshift ladder to sneak a look inside. What was inside? Absolutely nothing!

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Down and beyond

The true source of englands wealth is coal
Regular User
Very nice indeed mate I no this place you captured it very well the underground tramway is lovely their that Takes you into the Jurassic park style quarry
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Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Aw what a lovely sheep did u keep it? I love the B & W shot of the wheel ;-)

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