Trefriw Woollen Mills

Trefriw Woollen Mills

The complex of mill buildings and machinery at Trefriw upholds a long tradition of wool processing and weaving in northern Snowdonia. This was once a cottage industry, with families spinning and weaving wool in their homes and taking the cloth to local fulling mills for washing and finishing. The Industrial Revolution allowed mechanisation of many of the repetitive tasks, and in the early 19th century a water-powered fulling mill was built at Trefriw. This took advantage of the abundant supply of water from the rain-soaked mountains to the west.

In 1859 the mill was acquired by Thomas Williams. It has remained in the hands of the Williams family ever since. The main building at the front of the site was built c.1970 to a design by Colwyn Foulkes & Partners, of Colwyn Bay. It features three roofs with shallow slopes, reminiscent of Alpine architecture. Behind this building is a collection of older mill buildings, which can be viewed by entering the mill yard or following the path alongside the river Crafnant.

In 1918, workers from Trefriw Woollen Mills won several of the Arts and Crafts prizes at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Their prize-winning objects included: a piece of fine cream serge, suitable for ladies’ dresses; a piece of white baby flannel; and a pair of double-size blankets.

The mills still use turbines from the 1930s and 1940s to generate electricity to drive the machinery, most of which was installed in the 1950s and 1960s. Inside the complex, visitors can watch traditional Welsh blankets, tweeds, travelling rugs and bedspreads being woven on power looms. The other processes involved are also explained and demonstrated, and the small garden near the entrance contains various plants which were once grown to provide natural fabric dyes. Products made from fabric produced at the mills are sold at the shop in the main building.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL27 ONQ

Website of Trefriw Woollen Mills