Get on your bike to explore the mighty mills of Penrhyn Quarry.
Set off from Port Penrhyn, Bangor – the harbour that shipped Penrhyn slate from the late 18th century – to follow this cycle track on the route of the former quarry railway. Before leaving take a look at the historic locomotive and carriage sheds, port office, dismantled cast iron bridge and, last but not least, a circular privy.
The early route from quarry to port - a horse-drawn railway from 1801, was replaced in the 1870s by a steam-operated line. It finally closed in 1962. Make sure you take in the magnificent sight of Pont Marchogion, one of the oldest surviving multi-arch bridges in the world, which was used by the 1801 railway. Further along the route you will arrive at the ‘big mill’, Felin Fawr. The fall of water at this location powered wheels, which drove mechanical saws to produce slate slabs. Today the buildings at Felin Fawr include a former iron and brass foundry and two mills, all built in 1866. There are also two 19th-century waterwheels and a locomotive shed.
Penrhyn Quarry was once one of the largest in the world, and it is still in operation. The town of Bethesda grew up along the post road from 1821 to house the quarrymen and their families; it is a great example of a Victorian industrial town. As you continue along the cycle track, you will follow Lord Penrhyn’s 18th-century turnpike to Llyn Ogwen, ‘ffordd y lord’, and enjoy the views of Thomas Telford’s road on the other side of the valley.
In 2011 the slate industry of north Wales was successfully included on the UK Tentative List (short list) of potential sites for UNESCO World Heritage Site status – the only Welsh site. The nomination will take between 4 and 10 years to complete.
Taith y Lechen (Slate Trail)
The Slate Trail from Nant Ffrancon to Port Penrhyn, Bangor along the Lôn Las Ogwen path tells the story of Ogwen slate from Penrhyn Quarry, the development of the railroads and the people involved in the slate industry. Interpretation panels and QR codes have been placed along the route. The interesting information provided for these are seen as pdf documents below.
An Audio Trail and Itinerary have been created for this site. To download them, please see here
1. The Slate Trail - Slate
application/pdf / 0.58 MB
2. The Slate Trail - Quarry Owners
application/pdf / 0.62 MB
3. The Slate Trail - The Quarrymen
application/pdf / 0.41 MB
4. The Slate Trail - Health and Safety
application/pdf / 0.57 MB
5. The Slate Trail - Technology
application/pdf / 0.43 MB
6. The Slate Trail - Felin Fawr
application/pdf / 0.44 MB
7. The Slate Trail - Community Culture
application/pdf / 0.76 MB
8. The Slate Trail - Penrhyn Quarry Railway
application/pdf / 1 MB
9. The Slate Trail - Industry Today
application/pdf / 0.71 MB
10. The Slate Trail - Quarry Industry Legacy
application/pdf / 0.51 MB
11. The Slate Trail - Penrhyn Quarry
application/pdf / 0.72 MB
12. The Slate Trail - The Great Strike
application/pdf / 2.01 MB
13. The Slate Trail - Penrhyn Estate
application/pdf / 0.18 MB
14. The Slate Trail - The Wyatts
application/pdf / 1.1 MB
15. The Slate Trail - Port Penrhyn
application/pdf / 0.7 MB
Welsh Slate Zip World
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Buggy Access
- Good Walks Nearby
- Family Walk
- Wheelchair Access
Port Penrhyn A5 Bangor, Penrhyn Quarry A5 Bethesda
Nearest station is Bangor
Bus stops at Bangor Pen y Bryn or for Bethesda on the High Street
Lôn Las Ogwen
Lôn Las Ogwen
Penrhyn is a working quarry. Walks are in surrounding area and not into quarry itself.
Full Grid Reference Number: Port Penrhyn SH 593725, Penrhyn Quarry SH 625659
OS Landranger map sheet: 115
- Bethesda, Bangor, LL57 4YG