Welsh Mines Society
Cymdeithas Mwyngloddiau Cymru

Autumn Field Meet, weekend 19th - 20th September 2015
North Wales - Merionethshire : Mawddach Estuary and Dolgellau Area
Based at the Cross Foxes, Dolgellau
Organisers : David and Ritta Black
[ Current OS Map : Outdoor Leisure 1:25,000 Sheet OL23, 'Snowdonia : Cadair Idris Area' ]

As to the programme of events, this was as follows :
  • Saturday 19th September - Old Tyn Y Coed & Arthog Slate Quarries and Bryn Castell Fe Mine

    Morning - Old Tyn Y Coed & Arthog Slate Quarries
    Met at 10:30 at Tyn Y Coed, Arthog,  LL39 1YT,  NGR : SH 647 146, (view 1:25,000 OS Map or Road Atlas) for a circular walk around Old Tyn Y Coed and Arthog Quarries, led by David Black and Gerallt Hughes.

    This took in the original workings, coach road and tunnel, various adits, tramway tipping levels and water storage ponds, drumhead and descent to exit tramroad to weighbridge, exploratory adit and mills area leading to incline down to the estuary.
    Distance was approximately one mile on rough paths up and down, but nothing difficult (step ladders were in place in order to cross a boundary wall), with great views over the Mawddach estuary.
    The walk was on private land and part of the quarry is in use for slate waste processing, which was not to be entered, so members needed to stick together and avoid tip edges as they are worked from below and slips are frequent !

    Afternoon - Bryn Castell Fe Mine
    Met at 14:30 at Bryn Castell,  LL40 2SG,  NGR : SH 761 163, (view 1:25,000 OS Map or Road Atlas), for an interpretive walk of approximately 1 mile on fairly level woodland and field around Bryn Castell (a.k.a. Cross Foxes) iron stone mine led by Elizabeth Summerfield.  Recent removal of conifers has greatly improved the site but left the ground rough and muddy.

    The landowner led us around open and stoped workings taking in incline and exit tramway including wagon remains.  Also a great variety of flora and fauna was to be seen.
    Note that Bryn Castell is a private garden and woodland area, and has no public access.
    As there was not much parking available at the house, a few cars at most, members parked at Cross Foxes (location details below) and shared transport to the house.

    At SH 750 187, (view OS Map), about a 10 minute drive from Bryn Castell towards Dolgellau, are the remains of one of Abraham Darby's blast furnace. This is however on private land, and permission must be sought from the landowner.

  • Saturday Evening Based at the Cross Foxes, Dolgellau

    Dinner, 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm, at Cross Foxes, Dolgellau, Snowdonia, LL40 2SG (NGR : SH 767 166,
    view 1:25,000 OS Map or Road Atlas)  Tel.: 01341 421 001.
    The meal was £25.00 per person, for three courses including tea and coffee.
    The menu was included with Spring Newsletter (copy available here).

  • Sunday 20th - Braich Goch / Ratgoed Slate Quarries

    There was the choice of either :
    a.) An underground trip in Braich Goch Slate Quarry
    Met at 10:30 at Corris Mine Explorers reception, Corris Craft Centre, SY20 9RF
    (NGR : SH 748 078, view OS Map or Road Atlas) for a visit to Braich Goch slate quarry, led by, and courtesy of, Mark Waite and his team at Corris Mine Explorers.
    This was an easy underground walk (WMS underground insurance not required).  The visit was free of charge.  There is a café on site at the craft centre or alternatively a packed lunch could be taken.
      or
    b.) A surface walk, with short (optional) underground trips, around Ratgoed Slate Quarries
    Met at 10:30 at NGR : SH 775 105, view OS Map or Road Atlas, (approximately 2.5 miles from Corris Craft Centre) for a very easy circular walk around the valley floor of 3.5 miles led by Sara Eade (author of a number of books on the district).
    Interesting quarry dwelling, other buildings and a burst dam remains.  Those interested in ascending to the main quarries saw wagon remains, and an incline drum, and several adits, which were entered by those who wished to venture underground (leader Steve Thorpe).
    There is a small parking area and some rough roadside parking.  A packed lunch was required.

    ~ Ratgoed Slate Quarries ~
    OS 1:10,560 Merionethshire Sht.XXXVIII.SW 1887 OS 1:10,560 Merionethshire Sht.XXXVIII.SW 1901
    [Reproduced with permission of the National Library of Scotland
     (under the CC-BY-NC-SA licence).  Visit their website.]

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Last update (reformatted) on 20th April 2021

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