Discover this remote former copper mine along a winding Snowdonia mountain track
Though it lasted only 24 years, this mine near Beddgelert has left us many industrial gems, such as a water wheel from 1841, mill buildings and various pieces of machinery, including a short length of tramway. Only the high price of copper justified the costs involved in extracting and transporting the copper ore from this remote place. Up until 1865 this is just what the Hafod y Llan Copper and Lead Mines Company did, under their founder Henry McKeller.
Once the ore had been brought to the surface it was sorted, or ‘dressed’, on the dressing floor. This was back-breaking work as the broken pieces of rock had to be sifted through by hand. The best of them were selected to be broken into pebble-sized lumps, before being ground to a fine powder.
The proliferation of copper ore in the area meant that Cwm Erch was not alone. Nearby is the Lliwedd Mine, where another water wheel may be seen. Little has been done to preserve this site, though many interesting relics remain – to be explored by the adventurous amateur archaeologist or sharp-eyed walker.
A498 Beddgelert East to Watkin Path car park
Nearest station is Bangor - 20 miles
A498 Sherpa bus
2 mile walk on steep and rough footpath off Snowdon Watkin Path over footbridge at waterfalls
OS Map and walking boots/clothing required
Full Grid Reference Number: SH 634530
OS Landranger map sheet: 115
- Cwm Erch Copper Mine, Beddgelert, LL55 4NW