Historic Landscape Characterisation

Arfon - Area 6 Glynrhonwy Quarry


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

Historic background

A series of open slate quarries, exploiting a vein that runs up the hillsides from the shore of Llyn Padarn on the north-east to the commons on Cefn Du at the south west. The slate is worked from a series of open pits more reminiscent of Nantlle than the neighbouring Dinorwic Quarries. The pits were by and large worked separately, and the patterns of ownership and leasing are complex.

The workings were certainly active on a small scale at the end of the eighteenth century. The lower pits belonged to the Glynllifon estate, and the upper quarries were on Crown land, leased from 1803 to John Evans and company, who had to deal with the perennial problem of independent quarrymen working the site and threatening his employees. The quarries were mechanised from the 1820s onwards. Substantial inclines were installed particularly from the 1860s, and a large mill complex built on the shores of Llyn Padarn. Operations ceased in 1930, apart from very sporadic working from 1945 to 1948. The Lower Glynrhonwy pit (variously ‘Waterside Quarry’, Chwarel Isaf), was used as a bomb store during the second world war, with standard gauge access from the Llanberis branch.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Slate quarry landscape

The quarry machinery was comprehensively removed in 1930. Some of the lower tips have more recently been landscaped, and the mill complex is in reuse for the manufacture of climbing equipment. The wartime bomb-storage facilities include a concrete roof covered with slate rubble and traces of the siding. Elsewhere the stone embankments for the ropeway systems into the pits and the inclines remain impressive features.


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