Raynes jetty, Llanddulas

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Raynes jetty, Llanddulas

For thousands of years, sea-going ships were the only practical way to transport heavy cargoes from Wales. Most of Wales’ population lived in coastal towns, where seafaring was one of the chief occupations. Centuries of improvements to overland transport have by now put paid to most local movement of goods by sea from coastal production facilities, but Raynes jetty continues that tradition.

Limestone from Raynes quarry, to the south, is transported by conveyor belts to the jetty, crossing the A55 Expressway and railway. From the jetty it is loaded into coastal freighters which take it to other parts of the British Isles. Limestone from this quarry is a pure form of the rock, making it ideal for the chemical and cement industries.

The quarry was originally known as Llysfaen Limeworks, being close to Llysfaen railway station (the village itself is some distance away). James Trevelyan Raynes of Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, took over the quarry in the 1870s, adding large new limekilns. Lime from the quarry was shipped to various alkali works. Alkali was used for soap, textiles and many other goods.

Quarrying in this area has also produced porcelain-like limestone for high-quality architectural uses. St Margaret’s Church (also known as the Marble Church) in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, was built with limestone from Llanddulas.

Photo of MV Carrier agroundIn November 2011 one of the freighters, MV Swanland, sank in stormy weather on the Irish Sea after collecting 3,000 tons of stone from Raynes jetty bound for the Isle of Wight. Two crewmen were rescued but five, all Russian, were lost.

On 3 April 2012 the freighter MV Carrier, 82 metres long, hit a rock near the jetty during a storm after collecting about 1,700 tons of limestone. All crew members were airlifted to safety. Waves pushed the vessel (pictured right) against the concrete sea defences, puncturing its hull in several places. Its owner, Reederei Erwin Strahlmann, decided the ship was a total loss. The ship was cut up on the spot in the weeks after its grounding.

With thanks to Graham Roberts, of Colwyn Bay Civic Society

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Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
City of Ottawa – sailing ship built 1860, timbers still visible in Rhyl harbour
Paddle steamer wreck – passengers waiting on Rhos pier saw their ship sink as it approached

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