Lliwedd - A Snowdonia copper mine

A description of the surface features at Lliwedd mine

An aerial view of Lliwedd mine taken by Google Earth.  Click here or on the photo for a larger image, then use the back button to return to this page.  

The path from Pont Bethania enters the site at the water wheel and crusher house level.  The wheel itself is in pieces but most seem present, although without any trace of the wooden paddles, of course.  The diameter of the wheel would seem to be about 25 feet/8 metres and it bears a cast builders plate showing it was made by the Hawarden Iron Works Co. in Sandycroft, Flintshire.  Their works building still exists as a motor vehicle workshop.  Because the walls of the crusher house have fallen in it is difficult to work out the mechanical arrangements used to crush the stone.  Nearby are two of the crusher wheels which have noticeable wear on them.  Below this level is a stone slab paved dressing floor.  Here the crushed rock would have been picked through with the copper ore being put into sacks and loaded onto carts for the trip to Porthmadog.  The picking would probably have been done by women and children.  On a lower level is a further water wheel pit and partially built crusher house.  Presumably the ore ran out before this was completed.

About 100 feet/30 metres above the water wheel level is the entrance to the main adit.  Here the tramway wagons of ore would have been emptied and the rock then pushed down a stone chute to the crusher level.  The tramway gauge was 18 inches/45 cms which is quite usual in metal mines.  The adit is flooded with running water emanating from it.

There are the ruins of three buildings associated with the mine nearby.  These are most probably a barracks, where the workers would have lodged from sunday evening until saturday lunchtime, a combined office/workshops/smithy and a house for the managers family.  Even by early Victorian standards these are mean and ugly structures and at this height above sea level, winter work must have been a real challenge.

At a higher level up the mountainside are a series of long opencuts, these show where the copper ore was extracted from the seam.  On both sides are piles of waste rock on which nothing has grown.  These crevasse like cuts are unfenced and deep and should only be approached with the utmost care.


A gear wheel used to power the crusher rollers.

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