Report - Penarth Mine, Llangollen, October 2017

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Exploring with Bob
Regular User
Jan 28, 2017
Explored with @elhomer12 and @Darryl Kinney

Finding the WO

I am not really sure, and I don’t think anyone really knows, what kind of a creature the “WO”, really is. All I know and all anyone seems to know, is it’s very elusive. Well, that and it lives in Penarth slate mine near Llangollen. People have tried to find it and left massive white arrows all over the mine to indicate possible "WO" sightings. They all seem to lead back to one point, however. And as you enter the mine, that’s always behind you...


Penarth slate quarry lives above the little Welsh village of Carrog, Llangollen. It started life as an open pit quarry in 1868 with the arrival of the railway. However, like many slate mines, it may have a much longer history that is not recorded. The underground workings started around the mid-19th century. There is speculation that they used water power to develop the underground workings as well as cut the slate. At its height in 1868 the quarry employed 150 men. That cut back to 10 in 1883 before it closed for the first time in 1890. Five years later it reopened employing 50 men, but is finally closed for good in 1932, around the time many slate mines seem to have stopped production.

There exist remnants of the external workings and there are quite a few nice features left over the various levels inside. Of the mines I have been in now, this is a nice friendly one and quite easy to navigate. Which again, may explain why the WO is able to elude people so well.

The Ascent

The first thing to greet us when we got out the tour bus was the sound of really fucking big dogs barking ferociously like we'd just called their mum a bitch or something. Happily, they were chained up somewhere. Then, the hill. It’s a long fucking way up. Then you get to the point where you think you’ve made it. And you realise you haven’t. So you go up another level to find you still have to go up a level to go up a level to reach the level that puts you a couple of levels below the level you want to be on. When you get there, you realise the last level was unnecessary and you could have walked around. But as some small compensation there are nice views of the external workings and quarry.

Some external snaps including the outside workings...




This one reminds me of the Hobbit.


To enter the mine we had a choice of two holes. One was fairly large and the other was relatively small. We did not want to go in the wrong hole.


Not many people know this about @elhomer12, but he has always wanted to be a slate model. Here he is, modelling some slate in front of the right hole, which ironically was on the left.


The Descent

Once we knew we had the right hole we were in no bother. The wrong hole would have caused all kinds of pain, so it's a good job we got the right one. The mine opens into a huge chasm that runs to the left and right.


It was not long before I wished we'd brought something to monitor the air quality because @Darryl Kinney had been for a carvery at the Red Lion the night before and would not stop fucking farting. And if it wasn't the methane, the rapturous explosions coming out of his arse could have brought the roof down.

Anyway, we took the left turn first which lead to a main adit that ran both left and right. The left took us quickly to a dead end. Looking at the quality of the stone here, they must have fucked it off and decided to take the party deeper underground.


And there were some crudely cut jagged adits around here too, which makes you acutely aware you're not wearing a helmet if you're not wearing a helmet, which like a bunch of helmets we weren't (well according to some people).


There are a couple of dead ends around here. But nothing to write up about. So we went in the other direction, which past a couple of chambers and the odd sheer drops to the right. One of the chambers included the "Hole of Death", which isn't really a hole of death, not when you find the bottom of it, but it would be good for pissing about, abseiling down and getting back up again.

So at the end other end, there were more cavernous spaces. The beam going across is a tree and to the left is another adit that you can walk through standing up even if you're six foot tall. That should give this snap some scale. And it's an interesting juxtaposition of the different stratifications of the type and quality of rock.


Aside from some flooded adits, that was this level covered. So we retraced our steps and headed down to the lower level. This level is the level where the WO must live. Aside from a circular route at the bottom of the slope, which we descended, there is an adit that runs left and then right. We started by following it to the right.

The first feature you come across is the bottom of the hole of death. Possibly the WO uses this to escape if people try and approach it from the left and right at the same time. That must be what the blue washing line is for.


It is quite high. High enough to give you a nasty sprain if you fall through it. Not necessarily death though. No one wants to explore the hole of a nasty sprain though.

Ultimately the journey right takes you to a massive chamber with some standing water. I did take a snap of me standing next to the pool for scale, but there will be enough photos of me in this report, so you'll just have to take my word for the size of this chamber.


And just off that was an adit that was flooded.


Still no sign of the WO.

We followed the adit back and took it to it's left most extremity. Another flooded dead end. Nothing that would really threaten a pair of wellies though. With this one, the quality of stone looks poor, which maybe why they stopped tunneling this way. However, it looks pretty. To me anyway.


Heading back down the tunnel, there was evidence of the WO through the right tunnel. But that would just take us back to where we came in, so we carried back along the left tunnel to climb a pile of slag to the upper level.


On the upper level there lives a cart, with no wheels. Whoever took the wheels is a bigger cunt that Matthew Holmes, because there is a massive incline with tracks. And we could have had hours of fun bombing down it.


The incline and tracks from below...


The adit behind the cart leads past this interesting feature, which looks like it's there to shore up the roof.


This leads into a massive void where slate used to be. This is lit with two Skyrays, it was that big.


Back the out through the chamber and toward the incline. We checked a couple of adits, but they led nowhere impressive. Then up the incline to take some snaps looking down the tracks.


Just on from that was the hand winch that they must have used to get the little carts up and down the tracks (presumably one for up and one for down).


Behind that was an area they must have quarried last. The slate was still good and you could see how they were mining it out in slabs. It would have made for an interesting snap, but it involved a scramble up wet slate I did not want to do with my camera.

I tried slate-boarding down the slag pile, but thought I might die so I didn't try too hard.

And then we all made out way out, with no sight of the WO whatsoever. However, on the way back to the exit, the WO was in front of us.

Cheers for reading the report. :thumb

Last edited:


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nov 28, 2011
Not many people know this about @elhomer12, but he has always wanted to be a slate model. Here he is, modelling some slate in front of the right hole, which ironically was on the left.
Funny you should say that.

At one of the Welsh camping meets a bunch of us walked around a corner in a slate quarry to find a couple doing a fairly saucy photoshoot...
Likes: EOA


Exploring with Bob
Regular User
Jan 28, 2017
Bang on that fella! Great photos too.
Cheers dude :thumb

I wonder what the WO looks like...
Well we did try to find it.

Funny you should say that.

At one of the Welsh camping meets a bunch of us walked around a corner in a slate quarry to find a couple doing a fairly saucy photoshoot...
It seems everyone has a tits in a derp story except me. Come to think of it, that would make an awesome click bate YouTube video title...

A carvery fart is probably better than a tandoori fart :)
Nice photos mate and report :thumb
Cheers, The Kwan :thumb

Great photos nice one.
Cheers, chap.

Next time take your own wheels !
There is no way I am walking up the hill to that mine again!

Nice write up and some cracking photos, looks an interesting place to visit :thumb
Cheers, TLR - it was a nice mine - yet to find one that hasn't got something worthwhile!
Likes: Oxygen Thief

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