Maenofferen

Maenofferen

Grid ref : 714466

Inclines : Many

No. of levels : Loads

DISCLAIMER: Note that all information given here is derived from historical references, mine abandonment plans and conversations with ex quarrymen. The owners of Maenofferen (J.W.Greaves - Llechwedd) are very twitchy about people being anywhere near the mine.

About Maenofferen

Maenofferen is another very large undertaking, stuck halfway up the hillside to the North of Blaenau Ffestiniog. It runs into Bowydd / Votty / Diffwys workings, and I don't know how quite where all of the borders lie.

Maenofferen is still a working mine, so it's not a good idea to venture down there whilst work is going on.

Update as of 1999 it is no longer a working mine. Llechwedd now seem to be in charge of the workings, and at the moment seem to be undertaking some kind of half arsed attempt to extract a tiny amount of rock from the side of the Votty pit. This has destroyed any access into Cooke's level directly, the only way in now is down the main incline which is very overgrown. Bizarrely enough, although all the machinery underground seems to have been decommissioned, the lighting still seems to be intact, and is even reported to come on Sunday afternoons which is very odd. It must come on as a side effect of powering up the surface buildings, as the only access down the main incline is very dodgy. Having said that, there is another entrance further up the mountain from the main incline which seems to have rampant pillar robbing going on in it!

What's there

There are a number entrances to the mine, the largest down the main 3 track incline. This is on the other side of a gate, so getting in requires permission. The main incline is not visible from outside as it is in the bottom of a crater, with just a small tunnel leading to it. The small tunnel is easily found by following the rails from the machine sheds. The incline descends to B floor.

The mine is in two distinct halves, separated by the B31 incline. The Western half are the 'old' workings, and the Eastern half are the 'new' workings. The chambers are numbered up to 47, which is the furthest from the entrance.

Once down the incline, the level changes vein to the Back vein, and reaches the top of the B8 incline which descends to G floor which is now under water. The pump is situated down here which used to keep the mine dry. The pump is now off, and therefore the mine will slowly flood up to the level of the runoff into the Votty workings which is about floor E.

B floor is the main haulage level, and passes to the top of the B31 incline.

Down the bottom of this incline, which drops to F floor, the passage goes further to the east, passing many more abandoned chambers, before finally petering out in poor rock at least a mile from the entrance incline.

To the West of the B8 incline is some older workings, and the famous Cookes level, which is the old man entrance from the Votty pit into the main Maenofferen workings. There are claimed to be hobnail boot prints on this level. The entrance is a machine cut binocular profile, made by the Cooke & Hunter boring machine.

Just inside Cookes level there is a ventilation shaft which descends down towards the Votty workings, and opens out into the top of a chamber. This chamber is the first of at least three chambers passing back in the Votty direction, and I am sure it marks the limit of the Votty workings. The bottom of the chambers are collapsed.

Things of interest

Maenofferen offers a couple of interesting features, all visible from outside. These are machine cut tunnels, cut by a Cooke and Hunter boring machine. The first is a single tunnel, visible on the left of the river after the machine sheds. The other is Cookes level, which is visible across the Votty pit.

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Last modified on: 23rd June 2015 by email the webmaster

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