[Pic 1] Cwm Machno (Cwm Penmachno) Slate Quarry - Entrance through to the workings (Aug 1982)
On the extreme north eastern edge of the Ffestiniog group of quarries, and close to the secluded village of Cwm Penmachno, is the large isolated Cwm Machno Slate Quarry. The site is also referred to as Rhiw Fachno, or Cwm Penmachno Slate Quarry - but in later years traded under Cwm Machno Slate Quarries Ltd. Mostly developed in open workings, there were also ventures underground on several levels. Despite a very constricted site there was internal use of Loco power, but the quarry never had an external rail connection - which was a constant problem throughout its history - and so originally carted all its product to Trefriw Wharf, then to Betws y Coed after the LNWR reached there in 1868.
Visitors arriving at the quarry must have wondered if they'd come across a remote fortification with a seemingly walled entrance (see Pic 1 above) through which a short arched tunnel pierced through to the workings. This elaborate walling infact carried a rubbish tramway across to tips on the eastern side of the quarry. The structure had however become very unsafe and was totally removed during the 1980's landscaping project - more of which later.
[Pic 2] Cwm Machno (Cwm Penmachno) Slate Quarry - View of the main workings (Aug 1982)
As can be seen from Pic 2 (above) the main quarry was a large open working that deepened into a pit (partially infilled by later tipping) with adits leading underground - one opening can just be viewed in the lower pit wall - and the walled rubbish route (with the main entrance tunnel seen in Pic 1) which runs across the site between the two mill buildings. The uphaulage routes from the pit were lost when much of this part of the site was landscaped. Note the unusual raised head to the Trwnc incline - more about which below. The routes of two other (upper level) inclines can be seen in the foreground.
[Pic 3] Cwm Machno Quarry - Trwnc Incline winding house (Aug 1982)
The main Trwnc balanced incline (Pic 3 - above) dropped down 3 levels to the mills level, and connected at its lower end to a tramway (running along the newer waste in the pit bottom) with neat slab flooring along part of its route to the mills. This incline was (at some point) converted to a twin track table type with the eastern track on a slightly lower level for the water counterbalance, the run of which continued up beyond the drumhouse on a unusual raised section. This enabled it to uphaul waste from the pit for tipping at this level. Note the reasonable condition of the winding house and the water pipe entering the rear wall - but unfortunately this building no longer exists.
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