Clogwyn y Fuwch Slate Quarry

Clogwyn y Fuwch Quarry – chamber on level 4


14 July 2012

Mynydd Deulyn, Gwydyr Forest

SH 75910 61919; 53.13992°N, 3.85653°W


Mynydd Deulyn (two-lake mountain) rises between, and just over 200m above, the lakes Llyn Crafnant and Llyn Geirionydd in the Gwydyr Forest. Perched up on its northern face sits Clogwyn y Fuwch (cow cliff). The quarry there is thought to be one of the oldest slate mines in Wales. It comprises five levels linked by an incline with adjacent spoil heap clinging to the vertiginous slope.

Large caverns were quarried at Clogwyn y Fuwch, a practice which became outmoded in the later 19th century, being superseded by safer methods employing honeycombed chambers. William Turner — who was later to turn his attentions to quarrying concerns at Blaenau Ffestiniog — obtained a lease on the quarry in the 1790s and it was worked by Cumbrian miners, who brought with them characteristic techniques such as the use of dry-stone lined, cut-and-cover ‘Matt-Spedding’ tunnels and also the siting of slate splitting and dressing huts (waliau) inside the caverns themselves.

Clogwyn-y-Fuwch quarry (Treasure Maps);
Unfinished Business at Clogwyn-y-Fuwch (Treasure Maps)

Clogwyn y Fuwch Quarry (top right) on the slopes of Mynydd Deulyn, from the former tramway from Pandora Mine to the aerial ropeway down to Klondyke Mill

Ruins on level 1 (the lowest level)

Waliau inside the chamber on level 1

Waliau inside the chamber on level 1

Looking towards the exit from the cut-and-cover ‘Matt-Spedding’ tunnel at the entrance to the chamber on level 1

Looking out from the cavern on level 1

Level 1

Level 1

Looking down from the top of the first pitch of the incline

Incline and spoil heap from level 3

Adit, level 3

Adit, level 3, leading to a huge chamber with a chute connecting it to the level above

Adit, level 3

Mineralisation at the back of the vast chamber on level 4

Daylight filtering in from the entrance on level 4

The immense void on level 4, worked to daylight on level 5

Looking down from level 5, with Cae Crwn farm in the distance


8 thoughts on “Clogwyn y Fuwch Slate Quarry

  1. Nice photographs, Graham. You obviously enjoyed yourself! That void on level 4 is amazing, it’s hard to imagine that it is man-made. Your second photo is a great locating/establishing shot, and one I have failed to obtain yet.

    • Thanks Iain. Yes, what a marvellous place! Time just seemed to slip away whilst engrossed in photographing the place. The scale of the undertaking is certainly impressive – I felt as if I had wandered into some kind of vast other-worldly film set.

      No pumpkins there though!

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