Plas Tan y Bwlch

Public Courses, Plas Tan y Bwlch

Plas Tan y Bwlch

Slate: Yet More Diversity

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Course Number: K0203

Date: 17 February to 22 February 2019

Price: £495 - £542.50

Course Leader/s:

Richard Williams


Most of the programme will entail walking in the mountains over rough, exposed, and occasionally steep terrain; including walks of lengthy duration.

Course members should come prepared for this though average fitness should suffice. Members are reminded extreme care needs to be taken when walking on slate tips, mine waste and sheep droppings, especially in damp or wet conditions. Stout walking boots are essential. Inevitably the programme is at the mercy of the weather and the course itinerary will almost certainly be subject to alteration, at short notice, due to adverse weather conditions. Limited underground exploration is likely this year. Therefore, course members are advised to bring a good quality torch (plus extra if possible) with fresh batteries plus a helmet and a pair of gloves as a matter of course. (Plas Tan-y-Bwlch has a very limited supply of helmets).

Richard Williams is the authority on the slate industry of North East Wales and Dinas Mawddwy, or so he tells himself.

Dr David Gwyn is a professional industrial archaeologist and heritage consultant of some repute. He is the author of several studies in industrial-era and post-Medieval archaeology, and in 2015 his major study of the Welsh slate industry “Welsh Slate” or “Llechi Cymru” was published by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments of Wales; it is essential reading. He has been a member of the Festiniog Railway Company's Board since 2006, with responsibility for liaison with the Welsh Highland Railway Society; and is also a Director of the Bala Lake Railway.

Jon Knowles is an engineering consultant and well-known slate and metal mining explorer with a reputation for quality underground photography. Jon is also the expert on the history and archaeology of the Aberllefenni slate quarry.


16.30 - Arrival and registration
18:30 - Dinner
19:30 - Introduction – Richard Williams

DAY - The Nantlle Railway – with Dr David Gwyn
EVENING - The Copper Mines of Snowdonia – Jon Knowles

DAY - Llechwedd (Underground), Blaenau Ffestiniog*
EVENING - The Ardennes Slate Industry – Dr David Gwyn

DAY - Slate & Metal Mines in the Gwydyr Forest; Betws-y-Coed & Trefriw
EVENING - Snippets – Members contributions & Richard Williams

DAY- Cefn Coch Gold Mine, Dolgellau; or Cwm Erch Copper Mine, Snowdon.
EVENING - The Dinas Mawddwy Slate District – Richard Williams

DAY - Allt Fawr, Blaenau Ffestiniog; or Small Quarries near Croesor
14:00 - Departure (approximate)

# the course programme order is merely indicative and will almost certainly change during the week due to weather conditions and other reasons outside the control of the Course Tutor.

Course members are invited to bring their own slides, DVD’s or videos for presentation during this evening; provided there is an industrial archaeological connection, of course!

*Under the supervision of Jon Knowles, courtesy of J. W. Greaves & Sons Ltd. Course members will require helmet, torches and gloves in order to participate in the underground tour of Llechwedd, which will encompass areas not usually accessible to the public. Course members are requested to familiarise themselves with the attached Risk Assessment, especially the section concerning underground exploration.