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Celtic Cross

Llechwedd. Vale of Ffestiniog



Ffestiniog Railway

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The town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is exciting, full of pioneering spirit and ingenuity. Llechwedd is not a museum but where, since 1836, our ancestors clocked on for work with examples of the conditions in which they worked, the sorts of jobs they did and the engineering challenges they had to overcome to mine the slate, which is still on many roofs today! Llechwedd is a working quarry, still producing quality slate products today, but with a fraction of the workforce, health and safety galore and you don’t have to work 6 days a week or 12 hours a day like our ancestors did!

The caverns at Llechwedd take you into the dark world of the miners with the options of a deep mine tour and a ride on a narrow gauge train along the level, miners tramway. What did they do down there all day? Where did they eat? Did they really sing? Back on the surface are demonstrations of slate splitting and trimming to the right size before packing in slate wagons for onward transport down the incline to the Ffestiniog Railway and beyond.

You can see a 'wild car', the ultimate commute down a mountain, and hear how another nearby mine was used to store the contents of the National Gallery during WWII. In recent years 3 pairs of choughs have chosen to nest in Llechwedd.

Walking through the Victorian Village you have an opportunity to convert currency, not to euros but back in time, with the prevailing rate of £2-40 to sixpence. The sixpence goes a long way in Ffestin’s sweet shop, with its shelves of glass jars filled with traditional boiled sweets, and can quench a thirst in the bar of the Miners Arms.

Come rain or blistering sun this is a perfect all weather attraction – a bit of nostalgia for the seniors and fun come education for the juniors.

Written by Huw Jenkins