This copper mine sits high up in the hills above Cwm Pennant in North Wales (NGR SH 525477) and is in my opinion one of the best sites in the UK. Mining is thought to have started around 1850, however it had certainly closed by 1894 for good. The site is quite remote and this has meant it was left pretty much as is post closure avoiding the attentions of both the scrapman and vandals (but not the weather). There is a 25ft diameter waterwheel which is typical of its era in construction and was made by Dingey and Sons of Truro. What is particularly interesting is that the wheel not only worked pumps but also drove a winding drum by the engagement of rudimentary friction clutch assembly to wind the nearby shafts. The pumping flat rods leave the wheel and go to the pumping shaft (supported along the way) to an angle/balance bob which converts the horizontal movement to vertical pumping movement in the shaft whilst smoothing out the load on the waterwheel. In addition to the waterwheel there are two stone buildings that may have formed the smithy, stores and possibly a miners barracks. The site was restored some years ago by the Welsh Development Agency and Snowdonia National Park who stabilised the waterwheel and repaired the wooden flat rods which have only recently snapped due to age, moves are currently afoot to get these replaced and I will advise progress on this. An excellent description of this site can be found on








Cwm Ciprwth Copper mine - Waterwheel & flat rods