Southern fringe of quarry waste tips, near Nant Peris

Southern fringe of quarry waste tips, near Nant Peris

Here the footpath across the quarry reaches the limit of the vast tips of waste rock which dominate the landscape near Nant Peris. Please stay on the footpath and do not cross the fence.

The abrupt boundary between the farmland and rock heaps shows how the quarry’s surface area kept expanding across the hillside until the quarry closed in 1969. Only a small percentage of the slate dug from the mountain could be split to form roofing slates. Most was discarded as close as possible to the quarry workings.

Here you can see clearly how each gallery in the Braich department of the quarry had its own waste tip. By the 1880s the waste tips already stretched far out to the south east from the middle and upper galleries.

Below those tips were two sheep farms, Garreg Wen (meaning 'White Rock') and Garreg Wen Uchaf (Uchaf = highest). The latter farm had disappeared under waste rock by the Second World War. However, Garreg Wen was not engulfed. Its ruins are marked by a group of trees to the right of the nearest waste tip as you look up the hillside from the path.

Quarrymen who lived in Nant Peris used to walk past Garreg Wen to work. From Garreg Wen there was a choice of paths, leading to several different quarry levels. Officials rarely had reason to be at the waste tips, so it was easier for workers to go home early, unnoticed, from this side of the quarry than past the mills and offices at the other main access points.

Notice how silver birch trees are starting to grow on some of the waste. They are a pioneer species, adept at colonising barren land where there is enough moisture.

The Snowdonia National Park boundary follows the river Dudodyn past the edge of the waste tips. Large quarrying sites are excluded from the national park (mainly focused on protecting the natural landscape). Their importance gained international recognition in 2021 with the designation of the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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