Llechwedd Slate Caverns
Today Blaenau Ffestiniog is well-known as a centre for visitors to the beautiful Snowdonia National Park and the attractive Gwynedd coastline. Not so many years ago this area was a major industrial centre. On your way to the Craig Ddu bed and breakfast hotel it is hard to miss the heaps of slate waste that tower over the Blaenau Ffestiniog. These are reminders of the town’s industrial past.
The story of slate quarrying is so closely intertwined with the development of the Blaenau Ffestiniog that you cannot fully appreciate one without the other. Perhaps history was not your favourite subject at school and it just brings to mind boring exhibits in glass museum cases, but rest-assured that you will find nothing boring in the history of the North Wales slate industry. Based on what we hear from many Craig Ddu guests this could be one of the most interesting trips of your vacation.
Gywnedd history brought to life
After you are full rested and relaxed in the pleasant atmosphere of our family-run bed and breakfast you should try and find time to visit the nearby Llechwedd Slate Caverns Museum. This modern museum does an excellent job of bringing to life the fascinating story of slate quarrying in Gwynedd. It certainly is not a glass case and label type of museum but an interactive learning experience that is fun for all the family.
First of all you have the opportunity to travel on the steepest mining cable railway in the whole of Europe 500 feet into the bowels of the earth. Here the museum recreates the experiences of a twelve year miner called Sion in a fascinating light and sound show. Your virtual young guide takes you deeper underground through ten caverns and finally to a beautiful underground lake. It is a real eye-opener to learn how difficult life was for the mine worker 170 years ago. All he had was the light of a candle to guide him and simple hand tools to quarry the slate. You can even have at try at splitting a slate using ancient methods to get a feel of what this work felt like.
A North Wales Holiday You'll Long Remember
Back on the surface you can watch slate making today in Llechwedd's workshop. You are sure to be tempted to buy some of the slate products on sale such as house name plates and even wine racks. Any one of these would make an attractive souvenir of your visit to North Wales.