Ratgoed Slate Quarry - Introduction
Ratgoed quarry is situated in an isolated valley (Cwm Ceiswyr) to the north east of Corris and can be accessed by a pleasant (and nicely level) walk along the former trackbed of the Ratgoed tramway - which once ran from the foot of the quarry to a connection with the Corris Railway at Aberllefenni. Indeed, this tramway was once the main route in and out of the valley and was a lifeline to the quarry (and Cymerau quarry - which it passed en route) as well as a small community that once lived nearby. Closed since 1946, Ratgoed is now (like so many other workings) almost buried in trees as afforestation has covered the site. Ratgoed was mainly an underground working with numerous adits on various levels, although these days entry below ground is possible but a bit more tricky than it used to be ! The best artifacts are underground, however, despite this, there are still some fine surface remains to be seen, and my first walk up to (and around) the quarry on a hot, sunny september day in 1987 was well worth the effort. Please note - for reference there is a rough sketch map of Ratgoed on page 3.
[Pic 1] Ratgoed Slate Quarry - Ratgoed Tramway (Sept 1987)
This view shows the foot of the big lower incline (my brother's stood right on the base) where it emerges onto the Ratgoed Tramway (which runs off into the distance) and also fanned out into the mill area on the right. Imagine the tidy well built nature of the walling here without all the forestry overgrowth. Care was obviously taken to make everything look tidy at one point.
[Pic 2] Ratgoed Slate Quarry - Main exit incline winding house and drum (Sept 1987)
The original workings* at Ratgoed were close to the valley floor and can be found amongst the trees, near to the lower mill. They are however, badly degraded and overgrown but the later quarry is located further up the hillside and spreads out over at least 8 known levels. Connecting the workings with the valley floor was a long incline running down from level 8 (Pic 1 - above - shows this inclines winding house complete with drum remains) which replaced another (older) incline situated slightly to the north, and which can still be traced. The route of the level 8 / valley floor incline is easilly traceable (though like most of Ratgoed it is deep amongst the trees) and was obviously twin tracked.**
* It is a presumption of mine that these workings pre date at least 1840, while the quarry proper dates from at least the mid 1840s.
** A.J.Richards (Slate Quarrying at Corris / Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) suggests this incline may have at one time been converted to a table type - the interesting 'wooden pin-down pillar' adaption into the braking system that he mentions (and which supports his theory) can be seen on the left hand wall, with the redundant long remote brake lever just out of view in the undergrowth below - but any other physical evidence at the summit and valley floor is scant - however, due to the constricted space at the inclines head a table type system would make sense.
[Pic 3] Ratgoed Slate Quarry - Remote brake lever (Sept 1987)
The aforementioned long remote brake lever for the main exit incline with my brother posing to add scale. This incline was the last one in use before the quarry closed and its head is only a short distance north of the middle mill - a tramway route still traceable between the two. Note the crude kink in the lever - was that an on-site adjustment ?
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