Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cwm Erch Copper Mine

A Scheduled Monument in Beddgelert, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 53.057 / 53°3'25"N

Longitude: -4.0401 / 4°2'24"W

OS Eastings: 263370

OS Northings: 353032

OS Grid: SH633530

Mapcode National: GBR 5T.CH2F

Mapcode Global: WH551.XFB8

Entry Name: Cwm Erch Copper Mine

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 552

Cadw Legacy ID: CN193

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Copper mine

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Gwynedd

Community: Beddgelert

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire


A copper mine with water-driven crushing mill, dressing floor, offices, smithy and barrack building.

The processing buildings are on several levels, to enable the ore to be easily conveyed through the different stages. The main adit is on the upper level. The opening is 1.5 m wide by 1.5 m high, and tram rails are visible on the floor. The ore was carried by a tramway for some 20 m W along the main adit level to a platform, from where it was sent down a chute to another platform adjacent to the upper mill. The upper tramway and platform are heavily buttressed, and although partly obscured by rubble are in good condition.

The platform adjacent to the upper mill is 14 m long and 4 m wide, and is supported on the downhill side by a strong wall 2.5 - 3 m high. The cart track to Hafod y Llan starts at the W end of this platform. The upper mill is a two-storey building, with the first floor level with the ore platform. It measures c. 4 m by 5.5 m internally. The building is roofless, the tops of the walls have fallen inwards, and the timber first floor has collapsed. The remains of two rollers lie amongst the rubble in the bottom of the mill. The SW corner of the building is unstable.

The wheel pit is on the E side and measures 1.1 m by 8 m internally. The broken remains of the wheel lie at the bottom of the pit. A part of the rim of the wheel now lies on the E wall of the pit.

The dressing floor is to the SE of the mill, and at a slightly lower level. It is a paved area 5 m by 4.5 m, with a rectangular timber-lined pit, 1.85 m by 1.15 m, in the NE corner, now filled with rubble.

The lower mill is on a lower level again. It is a stone building, standing to eaves height with no roof. The entrance, 2 m wide, is on the W side. The building measures 5.3 m by 3.8 m internally. There is a wheel pit on the E side 8.5 m long by 2 m wide internally. Two rollers from the upper mill lie close by. There is no evidence that machinery was ever installed in the lower mill.

NW of the main adit level is a stone office building. The walls stand to the eaves (2.5 m) and are 0.6 m thick. The roof has gone. The building is divided into two rooms, and the entrance leads into the larger one, which measures 4.4. m by 3.7 m internally. There is a fireplace in the E gable, and a small cupboard in the wall to the W of the fireplace. The smaller room is entered from the larger, and measures 2.8 m by 3.7 m. The SE corner of the building is unstable.

W of the office is a smithy, also a stone building standing to eaves height with no roof. The roofing slabs, split stone not slate, are stacked outside the building. The N side of the building is a rock face, 2 m high. The building measures 4.6 m by 4 m internally. There is a large fireplace/furnace site on the W side.

At a higher level again are the remains of a three-unit barrack block. This is again roofless, with the walls standing to eaves height (1.6 m). The block, which is 3.6 m wide internally, is entered through the central unit, which is 2.6 m across. The two end units are entered from the central unit; they are 3.4 m wide and have fireplaces in the gable ends.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of copper mining and industry. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structures themselves may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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