If you are interested in walks discovering historic remains of the slate industry, we recommend the Kittiwake Guide Exploring Snowdonia’s Slate Industry (£7.95). We share some of our favourite local walks with you when you book via our free digital welcome guide. Make sure you add the guide to your phone so it works offline like an app when you are here. You can also buy OS maps of the local area here on site at Graig Wen.
As Graig Wen is on the site of a former Victorian slate quarry works in Snowdonia National Park, it’s fascinating to learn more about this traditional Welsh industry. You can explore the ruins of abandoned quarry workings in many places around here. They make for atmospheric and interesting walks in the changing seasons. With snow on the mountain tops in early December we headed just North of Snowdon for a walk around the epic Dinorwic Quarry, once the second largest in the world. Dinorwic Slate Quarry operated from around 1770 to 1969.
At the foot of Dinorwic Quarry is the National Slate Museum. We really recommend a visit here if you are in the Llanberis area for a walk or to take the train up Snowdon or the Llanberis Lake railway. Entry to the open air museum is free. You can explore the original Victorian workshops and quarry cottages which are designed as though quarrymen and engineers have just put down their tools and left the courtyard for home. Don’t miss the impressive and entertaining slate-splitting demonstrations.
Half an hour’s drive from Graig Wen, in the slate mountains near Blaenau Ffestiniog, you can take the steepest cable railway in Europe down into Llechwedd Deep Mine. Extraordinary light projection, enhanced reality technology and explosive special effects create an evocative experience of the underground slate mine.
At Corris Mine Explorers, 20 minutes from Graig Wen, expert guides share stories as they take you on an authentic Welsh adventure into an unknown dark world. Braich Goch Slate Mine in Mid Wales was hand dug by Victorian miners in 1836 and worked for more than 130 years – discover the virtual time capsule that was left behind as the door creaked shut for the last time in the 1970s…
Explorers looking for a more adrenalin pumping underground experience of slate mines should check out Go Below. Try your hand at zip-lining through caverns, traverse over an abyss, scale a waterfall or abseil your way down to the deepest point in the UK.
The Slate Landscape of North West Wales has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Status. It would join the likes of the Grand Canyon, the Vatican City, the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu on the prestigious global list. The decision is expected in 2021.