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Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

In addition to play another thing that we love doing as a family is exploring the great outdoors. As this is another passion of ours I decided to set up an Instagram account solely for the purpose of sharing great places to visit. I have shared quite a few places on here in the past and I wanted to start up this series again as my camera roll is always full of lots of images and videos.

Today I want to share with you a recent visit that we had to - Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake
We picked such a lovely day to visit here. Not a cloud in the sky! It's really atmospheric so there really isn't a bad time to visit. You follow the long winding road round to the lake to the car park. You will pass The Ynys Y Pandy Slate  Mill on the way. There is a lovely shot to take here whilst in your car. Looking up to it on the hillside - the winding road, bridge and bright red phone box all in view! 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

There is enough parking for around 10 cars. Whilst we were there very few people were visiting so I'm not sure if this is normal for the area but we had no issues using the lanes approaching or parking. There is a cafe selling refreshments. Currently due to COVID (September 2020) there is no indoor seating or toilets available and refreshments are being sold from a caravan out the front of the cafe building. 

The Valley here is called Cwmystradllyn. It hasn't always been so quiet here. Between 1859-1867, this place was a buzzing hive of industry.  Workers laboured in the Gorseddau Quarry to dig and hammer out the slate from the hillside. The Quarry was English owned and a small village was built for the workers here in 1857, overlooking the lake. 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

There were 36 homes built here and each had a quarter of an acre of land. The idea was that they could supplement wages as the land would allow them to grow crops and raise their own livestock for food. This wasn't an easy task though as the ground here is acidic and peaty. This village was named Treforys. 

Once parked, we headed for the lake. The lake was piercing blue and looked rather inviting for a swim. This is prohibited however. Signs informed us that the lake posed a serious health hazard as it contained blue and green algae called Leptospirosis. This can also be very dangerous for dogs so its really important they are kept on a lead around this area. 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

As we scanned around taking in the beautiful scenery we saw some abandoned buildings which we had to go and explore. Not an easy walk through the fields - however we did discover afterwards that you have a rather flat walk to them if you approach it from the side of the cafe through the gate. This was the way we walked back. 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

Through the fields with long grass, walls to climb and streams to cross it took us around 35 minutes to reach from the lake. It was much quicker going back on the straight, flat path. 

The homes that are just about standing really made me stop in my tracks. Someone once lived here, raising their family and working hard to provide for them. I could see where their fires once were. I imagined them all snuggling around them for warmth in winter months. I could see how they had constructed stone to make furniture - all still perfectly in place. 

One thing that really made me pause in my tracks was the latches for the door. Firmly in place, weathering but would still be fit for purpose today. The times the latch would have been used. Children running in and out wildly, giggling in the summer sunshine. You could see the staircases - how many times had these been trodden? The walkway for the gate was firmly stood in place - the times the families would have passed through here. Now they're gone. Long gone. Memories no longer. Yet signs of them being here, still standing! 

Such a spectacular view across the lakes and landscape. I wonder if the people here appreciated that view. Was this a place they wanted to be or a place they just had to be to be able to earn money for the family?

Lets see our visit to this location:

Ynys Y Pandy (the Slate Mill) was built in 1856-1857. The slate was not good quality here and because of this it was used to make flooring, sills and gravestones. The market was booming for roof slate but this Quarry was unable to take advantage of this as slate was not fit for this purpose. This quarry never returned a profit. 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

Working to dig and hammer out the slate was hard work in very damp and cold conditions. I couldn't help but take a moment to think of the workers and their families that once walked these footsteps. What would have the moral here been like?

There is the most beautiful, fast flowing stream that runs across the bottom of where the Quarry sits on the hill side. It flows underneath a bridge that you drive across to reach the lake. There was a small lay-by here and this is where we parked the car to jump out and explore this area. The sound of the stream and bird song really added to the ambiance of the place. 

Given how spectacular the places was I couldn't believe we didn't see anybody the whole time we were here! 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

To the side of the bride is a gate which gives you access to walk up to the Slate Mill. There are steps which have been installed and drops have been fenced off a little. It is a pretty dangerous spot however so great care needs to be taken here especially with young children.

The windows are so church like in the quarry. They're huge and framed the landscape before them beautifully! 

When the quarry closed down the building was used for religious ceremonies and at one point for a small school. By 1871 the village here was completely abandoned. 

Be sure to follow our outdoor exploring on our Instagram - The Great Explores.

You can read more about this area and the history in this fantastic article. I only read this once I had left the area. Knowing more on the history here I can't wait to return and take more of it in. 

Ynys Y Pandy Slate Mill and Lake - Places to Visit in North Wales

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