Bryn Eglwys Slate Quarry 2012

Into the undergrowth once more ...

Bryn Eglwys has long been a favourite of mine from as far back as the late 70's when you could wander around and see the layout of the site - never mind that there were still buildings there. Even in the early 90's, while the swathes of conifers were still young, you could still explore. But now it's become a journey through a jungle!

On a red hot early summer day in 2012 we set off from Abergynolwyn Station and followed the usual Forestry tracks and paths (diverting for a walk along the exit tramway to  Cantrybedd Incline) up to the site - just like we had many times in the past. But, not having been up there in the last few years, we weren't ready for the sheer growth of the trees ...

The base of Cantrybedd Incline
Cantrybedd Incline has always been a bit overgrown - but now it's hard to even make it out. There's certainly no way to climb up it anymore like the 'old' days. Still, it's a great walk up the forest paths from here and soon we entered the site proper at the Old Mill level. Next it was up the grassy slope that is the Cwmcwm Incline (still some scant remains of the drumhouse walls at the summit) and along the tree lined tramway route to near the head of the Short Incline, overlooking the great scar
in the ground that is the pit there. Somewhere to the west is the 10C / 15C incline, maybe if i had a drone i could photo it ...

View into the chasm ... It's there somewhere ... Honest!

As can be seen above, any view of the pit is not possible anymore from what was once a good viewpoint. Even the trees have flourished down below. Descending down through the shrubbery (along the course of the old Short Incline) took us to the head of the Boundary Incline - its drumhouse walls standing either side of a sturdy wire fence designed to keep us from wandering - and from here finally a view over to the Narrow Vein Haulage complex remains ...

The chain hoist haulage site used for uphauling out of the Narrow Vein

Weighhouse next to the landing stage - One of few building remains

Descending the Boundary Incline ... Dawg getting impatient with cameraman

After wandering around to see if the 'arch' in the pits still existed, we then descended to the Old Mill / Barracks area. Here there's a small clearing amongst the trees that shows there's no building remains on this level whatsover. This level used to be full of them. Don't even get me going about the  Daylight Adit. Walking past the overgrown Managers House site took us to the bridge over the Afon Llaeron and, on the right, the site of the Drum hut (for a winding drum that uphauled from chamber 8B) plus a 20ft waterwheel fed by a launder supported by pillars and the Compressor House. Unfortunately you would never know this by standing there and looking around ...

Site of the Drum hut / Compressor House / Waterwheel
Up on the hill nearby is the 10B / 15B incline drumhouse remains - the best of any on site - but good luck finding the tramway route from its base to the Old Mill site. From here it was onwards along the tramway route to the Broad Vein workings and Beudynewydd Incline, this latter at least still exists, complete with the tramway overbridge abutments partway down. At least the workings here, though overgrown, are explorable. Next was the track from here that descends down the eastern side of
Nant Gwernol to Abergynolwyn, turning off this onto the path down to the TR station ...

If you're lost, follow the signs ... or bring a map ... and a coat 'cus it's usually wet !!!

We came off the station path and took the shortcut back across to the base of Cantrybedd Incline, then back to Abergynolwyn Station via the Forestry paths. In the 'old' days we would do endless variations of this route (walking up to Pont Llaeron and beyond is a great hike) and have explored every corner of Bryn Eglwys over the years - But good luck with that now! 

However, if you just want a great walk then follow the 'Quarrymans Trail' markers for a very scenic route - most of our route used this - just choose a nice day or go up when the Llaeron is in full flow. Plus, if you're a fan of the Talyllyn Railway, the path from Abergynolwyn station to Forestry crossing is a good stretch for photos.

Those kind people now responsible for all those big green conifers (NRW - Now can you protect the few buildings left standing ?) have a map for walkers wanting to venture through Bryn Eglwys - Handy if you've never been before:-

ROTWSI - Bryn Eglwys 1979:-

Some more informed reading regarding Bryn Eglwys:-

'Bryneglwys Slate Quarry'  /  Alan Holmes with Sara Eade  /  Alan Holmes & Sara Eade

 'Gazeteer of Slate Quarrying in Wales - Revised'  /  Alun John Richards  /  Llygad Gwalch 

'Slates From Abergynolwyn'  /  Alan Holmes  /  Gwynedd Archive Services

'The Slate Regions of North and Mid Wales'  /  Alun John Richards  /  Gwasg Carreg Gwalch 

The Talyllyn Railway'  /  J.I.C.Boyd  /  Wild Swan 

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