Historic Landscape Characterisation

Arfon - 14 Penrhyn Quarry


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 100017916, 2005

Historic background

A major slate quarry, still in active production under Alfred McAlpine Slate products, once the largest slate quarry in the world. Its origins are almost certainly Medieval, but it reaped the benefit of direct management and substantial investment from the 1760s onwards. It was served by a 2’ gauge railway to the sea from 1801, realigned for locomotive operation between 1874 and 1879, and was equipped with a slab mill from c. 1803.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Slate quarry landscape

A galleried slate quarry of great size, still in active production. Despite the scale of present quarrying operations, the quarry preserves the industrial landscape of the nineteenth century. Incline planes, galleries and ancillary structures survive as landscape features, and the quarry preserves a number of examples of quarry machinery from the 19th and 20th centuries. Operations are currently concentrated on the upper part of the quarry, and are likely to continue moving towards the south-west, but tipping continues to take place on the site of the n19th century workings.

Some attempt is being made to encourage tree-growth on the tips. The Felin Fawr workshops complex which formerly served the quarry at Coed y Parc survives largely intact.


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