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Powys Metal Mines Survey


Cyfartha (also known as Nant Ddu) lies in the community of Cadfarch in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SN83409307. The mine is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 8497 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Cyfartha, CPAT photo                Lead/Copper (1842-1881)

Lower Silurian shales on the western extreme of the Dyfngwm lode with sphalerite, galena and chalcopyrite mineralisation.

A large engine shaft SN83369306 and whim shaft SN83309311 are present together with a deep adit, air shaft SN83879311 and a number of short and shallow level trials which have caused surface subsidence in places. Large spoil heaps are present close to the shafts.

In 1878 skip-roads were supplied for transport of ore from the shafts and are still readily visible on the tips. The former pathway for transportation of the concentrate runs east from the mine above the R.Clywedog on the south side of the valley to Dylife. The path is now a public right of way on the Glyndwr's Way footpath. Leats are numerous on the site with one supplying the crusher house from the Nant Ddu stream. A second leat runs southwards to the mine for just over a kilometre from the upper reaches of Nant Goch at SN83559406. The leat follows the 467m contour and exits into Nant Ddu just above the pumping wheel pit by means of a stone-lined leat. It seems most likely that this leat provided extra water in times of drought to the pumping wheel. The leat is marked on 1:25000 pathfinder maps as a watercourse. A stone culvert diverting water from Glaslyn to the reservoir is visible at SN83209430.

The large and impressive earthen dam at SN83109325 to the west of the mine apparently supplied water to Dyfngwm mine but was probably also used for Cyfarthfa. A pumping wheel SN83499305 and a split line of flatrods pumped both shafts. The alignment of flatrods to the northern shaft is visible as a low earthwork gulley. An angle bob pit and surrounding wall lie on the eastern rim of the engine shaft SN83309316. The pumping wheelpit is well preserved. A horse whim was used at the northern of the two shafts and the overgrown whim circle is still visible on the north-east side of the shaft. The crusher house was driven by a large waterwheel, the pit for which is well preserved along with the adjacent crusher roll housing. Modern farm buildings have been built onto the front wall of the crusher.

The crusher house survives at SN83699301 but most of the other features of the dressing floors have been destroyed by modern agricultural buildings. Immediately to the south of the agricultural buildings are traces of slime settling tanks and some other indeterminate stone foundations related to processing. Ore bins and a picking/washing floor can be seen close to the Whim Shaft at SN83309317.

Other features
At the western extreme of the site is a square stone building with a surviving collapsed, and nearly intact, south wall at SN83239319. The purpose if this structure is not clear. Immediately east of this is a large triangular enclosure delineated by a low earthen bank 1 metre wide and 0.40m high SN83259319. There is a possible entrance to the enclosure on the western side. A stone lined culvert crosses the enclosure from NE-SW and there are traces of other buried structures on the south side. The precise function of this enigmatic feature of the mine is by no means clear. Close to the engine shaft is the mine office complex of buildings which incorporates a number of storerooms and possibly a smithy SN83429310. Close to the mine, and probably of earlier date than the mining activity, are two groups of house platforms with partially intact basal wall foundations. Both are in close association with leat systems though this is presumably just a coincidence. The first group at SN83659331 consists of at least two building platforms with an adjacent short eastern branch of the main leat carrying water from Nant Goch to Nant Ddu which deposits water into the lower reaches of Nant Goch at this location. The second platform is at SN83769331 and consists of a rectangular stone foundation with a single eastern doorway. There is an associated enclosure on the northern side with possible traces of cultivation beds visible on the aerial photographs.

This HTML page is reproduced from the Powys and Clwyd Metal Mine Surveys which were undertaken between May 1992 and December 1993 by Mark Walters and Pat Frost of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust with financial support from Powys County Council, Clwyd County Council and Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. Further information about this site is available in CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record.
Page produced by Rachel Stebbings and Chris Martin.