Walk the landscape of Drws y Coed, where copper has been mined for millennia
It is believed that copper may have mined here in prehistoric and Roman times by people as keen on the metal’s beautiful and useful properties as we are today. Certainly industrial activity that took place here from the 1760s onwards.
As you walk around the site, see if you can spot the ruins of shelters and water-powered mills, and the partially preserved counting house. Some of the miners’ houses are derelict, but others are still in use. The site of the original chapel that served the mining families is worth seeking out – an interpretive panel also gives the story of the rock that crushed it!
What of the people who worked this beautiful area? The workforce grew in the early 1800s, when demand for copper rocketed during the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France. Men were paid according to the amount of ore produced, and the wage could vary depending on how much metal was found in the rock. Copper ore was exported from the port at Caernarfon. It was transported there first by horse, along the old Roman route, and later by the Nantlle tramway, which opened in 1828.
When demand for copper fell, the number of miners around Drws y Coed dwindled. One last recovery came at the end of the 19th century, prompting miners to travel to the area for work. They included women, whose job it was to crush the ore; they were given the sparkling name of ‘the Copper Ladies’.
B4418 Penygroes to Rhyd Ddu
Bangor - 18 miles
Nearest bus stop at Rhyd Ddu - 1 ½ miles
Lôn Eifion (Route 8) nearby.
Adits, tips and cottages are visible from the road (B4418) near Talymignedd and Drws y Coed Chapel. No public access. Some of the adits are vertical drops and should not be entered.
OS Full Grid Reference: SH545534
OS Landranger map sheet: 115
- Drws y Coed Copper Mining Landscape, Llanllyfni