Earth Sciences Group

Silver Mountain Experience 11 November 2021

A group of 10 of us visited the Silver Mountain Experience near Aberystwyth on 11 November 2021.

This is the site of the former silver-lead mine at Llywernog. We went on the “A Miner’s Life Guided Tour” as well as visiting their Museum. The social history was compelling, and we all gained a taste of how gruelling life for the miners and their families were back then.

The tour included a visit to the underground mine – we donned hard hats for this. We all realised how cramped and damp it was for the miners, and how basic health & safety was. No health care, with life expectancy to their 30’s. If they reached the age of 40, they were sent to work above ground in the sheds preparing the stone for transport, alongside the women and children. With the level of pollution in the water, it is a wonder how anyone survived!

The level of engineering required to extract the iron ore from the ground and process it was outstanding. Given the remoteness of the site, it still had a couple of massive water wheels with their brick-built pits and extensive buildings. Manual labour was needed on a massive scale. The profits from the sale of the ore were quite small, and it is no great surprise that the mine eventually closed in the early 20th century.

Many thanks to the staff for their warm welcome and care throughout our visit, including a very pleasant light lunch in their café!