The scenic Pumlumon hills beyond Aberystwyth were the heart of the Ceredigion mining region in the 19th century. The vein at Llywernog was made around 1742, and the mine was a success by 1810.
It was leased to Cornish ‘mine adventurers’ between 1824 and 1834, and the resulting influx of Cornish miners transformed the culture of the district of Cardiganshire, with new traditions and the establishment of Wesleyan Methodist chapels.
Llywernog became increasingly unproductive as the pumping costs rose with the deepening mines, until the silver-lead ore market crashed in the 1880s, causing entire communities to relocate to the coal mining villages of south Wales. In 1900, the mine experienced a brief period of zinc ore prospecting before it was abandoned in 1910.
Today, this independently owned and run museum is the remarkable achievement of one historian, Peter Lloyd Harvey, who purchased the mine in 1973 and developed the museum around it with very little external funding. A true labour of love, the resulting tours are outstanding. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and the museum offers extensive educational resources as well as a station for a hands-on mineral-panning experience.
The new extended underground tours are sure to excite, as visitors are given hard hats and taken through the tunnels. Llywernog also has woodland paths, working water wheels, and treats visitors to an impressive array of photographs and artefacts.
With so much to see and do, you can easily spend a long afternoon enjoying everything Llywernog has to offer.
Don’t miss: the accurately reconstructed Cornish gun powder house.
Llywernog Silver-lead mine, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales SY23 3AB
tel: 01970 890620