Dylife Lead Mines

NOTE :  Underground exploration can be a dangerous activity, potentially fatal.
 Never attempt to venture underground unless properly equipped or without
sufficient knowledge of the hazards you're likely to meet, and never on
your own.  You have been warned !

  Dylife sits high in the Cambrian Mountains on the road between Llanidloes & Machynlleth in the county of Montgomeryshire in mid-Wales.  Mining at this location has been attributed as going back as far as Roman times and continued up until the early 1900's.  There have only been two publications which specifically study the mining history of this area:   The following images were the result of some underground explorations carried out with Mole (aka John Hine), and partly with Geoff Fitton & John Bowers, on the 14th June 1999 - after the Welsh Mines Society Summer '20th Anniversary' Field Meet.  The numbers by each title correspond with those shown on the 25" OS map below.
First Edition 25" Ordnance Survey
Showing the location of the features in the photographs below. 
(Reproduced from p.10 of 'Dylife' 1st Edn., 1975, with permission of David Bick.)
The Esgairgaled area in the 1880's.       
 0 Site of Black Wheel
 1 Footway shaft
 2 Esgairgaled shaft & tunnel for
 3 Pencerig deep adit
 4 Pencerig shallow adit
 5 Bradford's Shaft                                  
 6 Shaft on south lode
 7 Footway shaft
 8 63ft Red Wheel
 9 Gwaith Gwyn adit
                               25in Ordnance Survey.
 10 Llechwedd Ddu engine shaft
      and Dylife adit
 11 Alfred's shaft
 12 Junction of the lodes
 13 Level Goch

Click the thumbnailed views for larger images

Stream beneath the road, 
next to the site of the 'Lead Works'
What were these ~12" dia. pipes for ?  A tunnel has been blasted through the rock (although it becomes stone arched where it ran under the dumps) to take the stream beneath the road and the waste dumps.

3. & 4. - Pencerig deep adit workings
(Accessed via the Pencerig shallow adit. 
Entrance at NGR SN 9418, 8591)
Looking vertically down on the top of a wooden rising main in a flooded winze.  Note outside diameter of pipe ~10" Woodcut from Georgius Agricola's, 'De Re Metallica', 1556, 1950 Hoover Ed'n, p.177, showing the manufacture and use of wooden pumps in medieval times.  Looking east, 60-70 yards away from the stopes, the level follows the vein for some distance.  Note the prominent hanging wall and the central groove in the floor of the level, indicating use of wheel barrows.
'The way out' - Spot the ladder ! 
View looking up the stope towards the Pencerig shallow adit.  The flooded winze, (in photo above), is to my right and slightly behind me.
Looking along the workings on the stope - note the windlass, and that the flooded 'hole' (across which the windlass would have been mounted) is surrounded by a timbered 'false floor'. A closer look at that 'false floor' from the opposite side.  The water depth wasn't plumbed, but it certainly looks deep ! 
Looking east along the level at the remains of a windlass. The stope (in photo above) is just behind me. Looking west (back towards the stopes), some 160 yards along the level.

9. - Gwaith Gwyn Adit
Entrance at NGR SN 8558, 9398 
Looking along the debris filled adit - washed in by the stream under flood conditions.
Do NOT enter this adit in wet conditions.
The ammo box is just over 7 (yes seven!) inches in height.
Some 20 yards in, after an almost flat-out crawl, some timbering is reached.  This has been 'forepoled' through soft ground. 
 Note the organic debris from the stream stuck to the roof of the adit ! 
Looking down into the silt filled winze at the end of the adit.
Yet more forepoled timbering, in a branch to the right just before the timbering shown in the photo above.  The lighting was from my cap lamp, as my flash batteries had expired, hence the colour shift.

10. - Llechwedd Ddu shaft and Dylife adit.
Mole approaches the cavernous entrance of the Dylife adit, with the impressive pump rod of the Llechwedd Ddu shaft in the foreground. 
Looking inbye along the Dylife adit, close to the entrance.  Note the staining along the walls - watch out, this adit can flood. 
Looking inbye along the Dylife adit. 
(The speck in the distance is Moles' cap lamp)  Note the lever which probably operated the tramway points at a passing loop in the adit. The adit is totally run in where it intersects Alfred's shaft.

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All photographs © Mike Munro
This page last updated 14th November 2003

Whilst every care is taken in researching and presenting the information contained within these pages,
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