Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Date

20 October 2012
Location

Maenofferen Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog

SH 71295 46603; 53.00121°N, 3.91936°W

Information

Extraction of slate at Blaenau Ffestiniog has largely been from mine workings rather than open quarries, as the seams there are steeply inclined. Maenofferen is one of the many slate quarries in the area and was initially worked at the open-cast ‘David Jones’ section of the quarry. In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Company was established and it leased the quarry from the landowner Lord Newborough. Maenofferen was acquired in 1975 by J W Greaves and Sons, founded in 1836 and owners of the nearby Llechwedd Quarry.

Originally, slate was transported from the quarry via the Rhiwbach Tramway, down a series of inclines, and then onto a wharf at Porthmadog by way of the Festiniog Railway. Product was conveyed by road from 1962, but use of the internal tramways continued into the 1980s.

Maenofferen was the last large-scale slate mine to operate in North Wales, with underground working coming to an end in 1999, at which time the surface structures at the processing complex were also abandoned. The mine had reached a depth of 1000 ft with a horizontal extent of up to a mile. Material from the waste heaps is currently being reclaimed on a limited scale to produce crushed slate, and underground chambers are being untopped in order to retrieve high quality slate from their supporting pillars.

Maenofferen (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Maenofferen Quarry (Wikipedia)

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill, Maenofferen Quarry

Slate Mill from Rhiwbach Tramway No 3 Incline. The slight variation at the middle of the far shed roof marks the location of the waterwheel that originally powered the mill. The line of pillars curving around the back of the mill were the piers for the launders carrying water to feed the wheel.

Diffwys Quarry, over the hill from Maenofferen

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17 thoughts on “Maenofferen Quarry

  1. This set was well worth waiting for! An absolutely outstanding set of photos, it’s very illuminating to see your take on the place, to view it through your eyes. Impossible to have a favourite, as they are all superb.
    Incidentally, that last shot is Diffwys rather than Maenofferen, but it’s lovely all the same, with the Rhiwbach drumhouse in the distance…fab!

  2. Fantastic set Graham! I imagine this is what the mill on Australia Level at Dinorwic would have looked like after closure, and before terminal decay set in.

  3. I was in Nth Wales the first week in Oct and explored Rhosydd and Cwmorthin.Later in the week I went to the mangers house above Blaenau but the path was blocked by fallen trees so I tried to go onto the galleries but it was blocked by tipped waste and looked dangerous to try and climb over.
    The “slate police” arrived,three blokes in a pick up and high vis’s and told me to stick to the footpath.They were friendly enough,they couldn’t believe I was on holiday.
    Next time I visit I will explore more.
    Ben.
    Dronfield,
    Derbyshire.

  4. Any idea what the current status of this place is? I’d heard somewhere that they were re-opening some of the workings in the area so was wondering if its still accesible in one way or another……..?

  5. Pingback: Vision in Grey | GeoTopoi

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