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Town:Blaenau Ffestiniog

Town

Gwynedd,
LL41 3HS

What3words:

Details

In 2021, UNESCO recognised the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales as a World Heritage Site. The area was recognised as internationally significant not only for the export of slates, but also for the export of technology and skilled workers from the 1780s to the early 20th century.

Blaenau lies at the very heart of the Snowdonia National Park and is famously known as the ‘slate capital of Wales’ and the ‘town that roofed the world' and the giant grey scars opn the maintains surrounding the town are still visible today for all to see.

Visitors to the town can explore the shopping area, and view words, sayings, quarrying terms and local poetry that have been inscribed into the street scape. Attractions include the narrow gauge steam Ffestiniog Railway and it is also the terminus of the Conwy Line that run from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llandudno on the North Wales coast.

The area has become a mecca for adventure seekers including mountain bike enthusiasts and visitors can experience the thrill of Zip World, Bounce Below and Deep Mine Experience at Llechwedd.

Before the slate industry developed, the area was a farming region, with scattered farms working the uplands below the cliffs of Dolgaregddu and Nyth-y-Gigfran. Much of the land was owned by large estates and the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog was created to support workers in the local slate mines.

In its heyday, Blaenau Ffestiniog was the largest town in Meirionnydd. In the 1760s, men from the long established Cilgwyn quarry near Nantlle started quarrying in Cenunant y Diphwys to the north east of the present town. This valley had for a number of years been known for its slate beds and had been worked on a very small scale. The exact location of this original quarry has been obliterated by subsequent mining activity, but it is likely that it was on or near the site of the Diphwys Casson Quarry.

In 1819, quarrying began on the slopes of Allt-fawr near Rhiwbryfdir Farm. Within a decade, three separate slate quarries were operating on Allt-fawr and these eventually amalgamated to form Oakeley Quarry which would become the largest underground slate mine in the world.

During the 1860s and 1870s the slate industry went through a large boom. The quarries expanded rapidly, as did the nascent town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The town gained its first church and first school, and saw considerable ribbon development along the roads. By 1881, the town's population had soared to 11,274. The boom in the slate industry was followed by a significant decline. The 1890s saw several quarries lose money for the first time, and several failed entirely, including Cwmorthin and Nidd-y-Gigfran.

Contact

Porthmadog Tourist Information Centre

Address

Gwynedd,
LL41 3HS

Directions

Plan route to Blaenau Ffestiniog using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SH 698464  Lat: 52.99904 Long: -3.94152

Blaenau Ffestiniog is located along the A470 which is 6 miles from the A487 (South) and 11 miles from the A5 (North). The bus station is located upon exiting the railway station next to the car park and taxi ranks

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog station