04 February 2010

Llanymynech Quarries

At the southern end of the ridge that forms Llanymynech, Crickheath and Llynclys hills are a number of abandoned limestone quarries. These would once have resounded with explosions from charges tamped into holes drilled into the rock, which have left their characteristic half cylinders in the cliff-face. Now though the only sounds are from buzzards and peregrine falcons, dripping water and, in the summer, the occasional climber pitting their wits against the repeated tiers of horizontally bedded rock. There are three drum brakes here, one (pictured) at the top of the 'English' inclined plane, a second at the head of the 'Welsh' inclined plane, and a third above the short drop into the massive tunnel cut straight through the hill into a lower-level quarry.

The tunnel is signed as dangerous, and it's easy to see why once inside: blocks of limestone larger than family cars have fallen from the ceiling. Similarly cordoned off is an adit that appears to run straight into the hillside and may, thus, be a copper mine that predates the quarries; and which demands a return visit with a good torch. The inclined planes carried limestone down to the canal and the Hoffman kiln at the foot of the hill. Oddly, the two tramways, operated by different companies, crossed each other just before passing, via separate tunnels, under what is now the A483. Steel sculptures by David Howorth represent rockmen and a brakesman.

1 comment:

RLT said...

Richard, Your blog is a delight - good to see how a renaissance man goes about in this world! RGDS RLT