Mining for metals, slate and coal throughout Wales and the Border Counties has a long and distinguished history and is an important part of our culture and heritage.
Hundreds of sites, some with Bronze-age origins still evident, are scattered across the region, but nearly all are in a very neglected state. At such mines some of the best and earliest Boulton & Watt and Cornish engine houses still survive. Several are over two hundred years old, and nearly all are in a very ruinous and desperate condition.
Fortunately, the importance of these impressive memorials to the mining industry is now becoming recognised, and a number have been Listed or Scheduled, though regrettably this does not address the immediate and crucial problem of natural decay.
Apart from engine houses; wheelpits, crusher houses and other structures are equally at risk, and the need for some form of fund-raising trust has been strongly advocated in recent years by CADW, English Heritage, the Science Museum, curators and consultants.
The Welsh Mines Preservation Trust was incorporated in 1992 in an attempt to meet the challenge.
At present the Trustees are mainly drawn from the appropriately specialised members of the Welsh Mines Society, which is a long established body devoted to the history and archaeology of mines and mining.
The aims of the Trust include the raising of funds to implement repairs and consolidate structures. Liaison with landowners, local authorities and other bodies will be sought. Where possible, the final aim will be to make the sites accessible to the public, to enable a proper appreciation of their historical significance and to ensure the maintenance of their fabric in the long term.
In recent years we have been involved in various schemes in Mid Wales, in addition to other parts of Wales. During the last two summers we have held heritage weekends offering local residents the opportunity to visit some of the historic mining sites in Ceredigion, such as Cwmystwyth, Glogfach, Glogfawr, Logaulas, Erglodd, Cwmsymlog and the Talybont mines. At these weekends members of the Trust have given talks and slide shows on these sites.
Last year we carried out work at Goginan Mine and this year we are planning work at Cwmsymlog and Eaglebrook mines. Our major project at the moment is restoration of the Engine House at Pen Y Clun Mine in Montgomeryshire with the aid of a £38,000 grant from CADW.
The Welsh Mines Preservation Trust also undertake working weekends and in 2006 clearance work took place at the graveyard and chapel site at Cwmsymlog.
For further details visit our website at www.welshmines.org then click on link for WMPT, or contact the Secretary
or telephone 01293-510567.