Y is for Ystwyth Valley

As with X, a dearth of Ys, too. But I do have the Ystwyth Valley (OK, in Welsh this is actually Cwmystwyth – but I need a Y, see?)

So, back to the Ystwyth valley… according to Wikipedia, “Silver, lead and zinc have been mined in the valley of the River Ystwyth since Roman times, an activity that reached its peak in the 18th century. The largest of the very many mines was Cwmystwyth Mine. It is reputed that the average age at death of the miners in Cwmystwyth was 32, largely because of acute lead poisoning. There is no longer any active metal mining in the Ystwyth valley.“

My parents lived for a time in Shropshire, and sometimes when I stayed with them, I would head off into mid-Wales. To the Elan valley, the Ystwyth valley. The latter because I happened on an article in Country Life magazine… showing an image of an abandoned mine building (the last image in this post is almost exactly the one that sparked the trip there).

I became fascinated by the Cwmystwyth mine, derelict, disused and more than a tad eerie…the former slate dressing mill was covered in sheets of corrugated metal which used to creak and clank in the wind! I would sometimes feel I wasn’t alone there…. When I think now, I used to off to these desolate places, on my own, never telling anyone where I was…lucky nothing ever happened to me.

There was loads more stuff I could have explored, and didn’t…. too late now, long since been demolished. I was too taken with that mill! All these images were taken using my old Canon FTb, various lenses, and varied film stock…the central one I think was Ektachrome, which had an interesting colour cast (!), and hasn’t aged well…

Anyhow, here’s the valley on a rather grey day:

Ystwyth Valley

Decaying buildings of the Cwmystwyth mine

Slate Dressing mill, Cwmystwyth mine



  1. Oh I love the bleakness of the landscape… It’s so very close to Black and White…

  2. A grey place Sue. Have you been to York?

  3. I think the dangers of solitary prowling are overrated! Rambling around a place like this alone obviously summons (harmless) ghosts. I’m enjoying your more extended wordage, as well as your photos of times doubly past.

  4. Nice of Wales to supply a ‘Y’, Sue. And good to read your memories, along with the photos.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. Your second photo is a beauty, love the subtle hues. It has a painterly look.

  6. Your outstanding pictures reminded of the ghost towns that we have in our area. Some have recently been spruced up to attract tourists. Have a great day!

  7. You know that my sunny disposition isn’t a fan of this landscape, Sue. It would drive me to despair if I lived in it. But I can’t disagree with Jude. (well, not when she’s looking 🙂 )

  8. These images of the valley and the mine are so beautiful, Sue; it’s no wonder you were drawn to explore this place. I love exploring derelict and abandoned buildings and ruins. Good for you for being so bold to explore these on your own! I’ll link this post to my next call to place, scheduled for May 24. Thanks for linking up, Sue! 🙂

  9. Pingback: the call to place: turkey – ~ wander.essence ~

  10. What wonderfully evocative photos. So atmospheric.

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