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Inspired by our exploration of Bwlch Glas Mine, Colin and I headed inland from Aber one sunny afternoon in search of more mines. Without any maps and just vague stories of the exploits of ACC members of yesteryear, we followed the Afon Ystwyth upstream to Cwmystwyth – the site of mine workings since the Bronze Age, up until the last mine was forced to close in 1921. Not much remains now; a few derelict buildings, tramways and some open shafts scattered around the valley.

With the car parked up, we were immediately drawn to the quarried landscape to the east. The result of millennia of activity is obvious to see, with huge chunks of the valley sides missing, and holes disappearing everywhere. The slopes were covered with loose scree making exploration tricky, though we did find an open adit next to the waterfall. Colin named the dank and gloomy hole ‘Mine Precious’, but disappointingly it ended after ~40 metres.

Back in the nineties, ACC had been involved with the surveying and exploration of Level Fawr, but since then I had heard there had been collapses and it was now gated. Nevertheless we wanted to find the entrance, so went off to search the rest of the hillside. We didn’t find much apart from one gated adit and plenty of filled shafts, though the ruined buildings were impressive to look around. Although a bit disheartened to find only the one open adit, the whole valley is an impressive sight and well worth an explore.

View the pictures individually


Cwmystwyth Lead and Zinc Mines [The Derelict Miscellany]