Part of the Cwm Rheidol hydroelectric power scheme, the breathtaking Nant-y-Moch near Ponterwyd is one of Britain's youngest reservoirs, having been created in 1987. The construction of the dam flooded the valley, which included the small village of Nant-y-Moch and its local mining heritage.
Take a scenic drive that will take you along some of beautiful scenery in the area. Teh drive can extend from Ponterwyd past Nant y Moch ending in Talybont.
The Nant y moch - Esgairhir area encompasses a wealth of mining history including Bwlchglas mine, Hafan mine and quarry and many more.
The Hafan Tramway climbed from Llanfihangel (now known as Llandre) to Talybont and then ran along the southern slopes of the Leri, through Bwlchglas and past Allt-ddu, that then ended at the foot of the Hafan incline. Three locomotives were used on the Tramway - victoria
. The Victoria
ran for 500yards on 12 May 1897 and on 20 November 1899 the tramway ceased due to the company going into voluntary liquidation. Even today looking down from the Hafan Quarry towards the Tramway you can just see the old track embedded in the side of the hillside.
The Hafan tramway ran along the southern slopes of the valleys and passed between the mine buildings at Bwlchglas on its way to the incline. The mine finally closed in 1923. The remains of the concrete processing plant still remain.
Esgairffraith is an adjacent site to Esgairhir and both lay on the same mineral lode. During their life the area developed - barracks were built for the miners, a system of reservoirs and leats for water power, and a large wheel pit and wheel, intended to pump both mines, at Esgairffraith. The mines re-opened in 1854, when George Borrow paid his famous visit to the newly built offices. During its life the mines was renowned for its exagerated forecasts, low return, scandal and insolvency and was repeated many times. Esgairhir and Esgairffraith were sold off for the last time in 1908.
Today reamins can still be seen including the barracks, shafts and open cuts, waste dumps, wheelpits and dressing floors. The remaining foundations of the office building where George Borrow
stopped and was given shelter, can still just about be made out. This event relates to chapter 80 - 81 in George Borrow's "Wild Wales."
Both sites can be visited but Esgairffraith lies on Forestry Commission land therefore permission should be sought.
With thanks to Robert Ireland.