Llechwedd Slate Caverns

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The Llechwedd Slate Caverns seen from above. Llechwedd is on the left; the slate tips on the right are from the Oakeley Quarry.
A demonstration of slate splitting at Llechwedd

Llechwedd Slate Caverns is a visitor attraction near Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales. It details the history of slate quarrying in the town and specifically the Llechwedd quarry in which it is located. It has an interpretive centre which shows how slate was extracted and processed, a reconstructed village which shows how miners lived, and a funicular railway which takes visitors into abandoned sections of the quarry. The attraction also incorporates Mountain biking tracks, Zip-lines and giant underground trampolines.

History[edit]

The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge Miners' Tramway, opened in 1972 under the name "Quarry Tours",[1] was a railway travelling 800 metres underground. The trains were hauled by battery-electric locomotives and travelled through tunnels and into a series of quarry chambers. The tramway's closure in 2014, as part of a revamp of the caverns, caused some controversy.[2] The Deep Mine, opened in 1979, is accessed by the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge[3] Deep Mine Railway, a steep passenger funicular with a gradient of 1:1.8 or 30°. At the foot of the funicular, visitors can walk through several tunnels and chambers. The Deep Mine Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the UK.[citation needed]

In 1992 the Deep Mine displays were upgraded using audio-visual technology supplied by Eurodisney[1]

In 2014 the Bounce Below attraction, described as "the world's largest underground trampoline", opened in the mine caverns[4] along with the Zip World wire course outside.[5] As part of the 2014 developments a new guided Victorian Mine Tour opened combining the funicular, the tunnels from the two previous tours and some tunnels newly opened to the public.

In 2015 the Zip World Caverns wire course opened within the caves.[6][7]

Awards[edit]

Llechwedd Slate Caverns have been listed as one of the top ten places to visit by North Wales Tourism, the tourism board for this area. It is also claimed to be "winner of every major tourism award".[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Isherwood, Graham (July 2009). "Chronology of Llechwedd Quarry". 
  2. ^ "Blog entry with press release from Llechwedd". RMweb. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Tourist and Enthusiast Railways - Wales
  4. ^ "Bounce Below". Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "WATCH: Screams and thrills at the new Zip World Titan at Blaenau Ffestiniog". Daily Post. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Zip World Caverns: the world's largest underground zipline is as terrifying as it sounds". Telegraph. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Zip World Caverns: The underground zip lining course boosting tourism in North Wales". The Independent. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Jones, Ivor Wynne. "Llechweddd Slate Caverns". Slate Wales UK. Tourism Wales UK. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°00′17″N 3°56′25″W / 53.0046°N 3.9403°W / 53.0046; -3.9403