Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry

Date

17 September 2017

Location

Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda
SH 62228 65513; 53.16883°N, 4.06249°W

Information

Princess May is one of the two surviving water balances at Penrhyn Quarry; the other is called Sebastopol and has been restored. Originally there were eight at the quarry… [Read more about the water balance and see more photographs from 2011 here]

Further Reading

Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry;
Zip World Adventure Terminal;
Penrhyn Quarry

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Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings

Visitor Centre (converted Stables)

Date

26 August 2017

Location

Ditherington, Shrewsbury
SJ 49855 13826; 52.71974°N, 2.74382°W

Information

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings was previously featured here in GeoTopoi in December 2011. Since then there have various changes at the site, the most significant being the opening in November 2015 in the converted offices and stables of a Visitor Centre. The opening of the centre is the first phase of a restoration project undertaken by a partnership between Historic England, Friends of Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council. The second phase, which will result in a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic buildings, is proceeding thanks to the subvention of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Other changes include the demolition of various later structures on the site, such as the massive concrete silos built in the 1950s and 60s (North Silo and South Silo). Public access is currently limited to the Visitor Centre and a small area to the rear of the mill buildings.

Further Reading

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings (GeoTopoi, 2011);
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings (Historic England)

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Hydro Ogwen Scheme

Weir above Ogwen Bank Falls

Date

25 June 2017

Location

Ogwen Bank, Bethesda
SH 62608 65410; 53.16801°N, 4.05676°W

Information

Hydro Ogwen is a community hydro-electric generation scheme on the Afon Ogwen owned and operated by Ynni Ogwen Cyf (Ogwen Energy Ltd), a company established in 2015 to complete the development of the project and to manage it thereafter. The venture was financed by £450k raised via a community share offer and profits are to be distributed for the benefit of the local community.

Family-run contractors Gwyn Roberts Construction, based near Bala, carried out the building work, which started in July 2016 and was mostly completed by March 2017. The 100 kW generator, whose estimated annual output will be 500 MWh, is driven by a turbine fed via a 900 mm diameter pipe buried under the Lon Las Ogwen path with water abstracted from the intake weir, approximately 300 m upstream, just above the waterfalls at Ogwen Bank.

Further Reading

Ynni Ogwen;
All posts in the Afon Ogwen series…

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Tynal Tywyll, Lon Las Ogwen – Dinas Railway Tunnel

Dinas Tunnel – the former branch-line railway tunnel between Tregarth and Bethesda, known informally as Tynal Tywyll (dark tunnel).

Date

14 May 2017

Location

Dinas Tunnel, Lon Las Ogwen, Tregarth
SH 60818 68185; 53.19247°N, 4.08473°W

Information

In 1884 a four-mile-long, single track branch line of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) from Bangor to Bethesda opened to passengers, linking to the Chester and Holyhead main line just outside Bangor. The route included Dinas Tunnel, a 297-yard-long (272 m), single-bore tunnel approached from the Bangor (northern) end through a sheer-faced rock cutting. On exiting the tunnel at the Bethesda (southern) end, the track crossed the Ogwen river over the Bryn Bella Viaduct. Increasing competition from buses led to the closing of passenger services on the branch line in 1951, with the line finally closing to all traffic in 1963.

In 2016 Gwynedd Council set aside £200,000 and secured an additional £230,000 from the Welsh Government in order to develop the disused tunnel so as to open a new section of the Lon Las Ogwen ‘multi-user’ path. This 11-mile-long cycle route follows parts of the trackbeds of the narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the standard-gauge LNWR branch line and has until now been interrupted by a mile-long detour around the tunnel by road.

The development work was carried out by Trawsfynydd-based contractor G H James and involved: securing the rockface in the cutting; lighting the tunnel; installing safety railings on the viaduct parapets; and clearing and surfacing the path. The new 800-metre-long section of the route opened in May 2017.

Further Reading

All posts about Dinas Tunnel;
Lon Las Ogwen

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