A mineral-rich delight on the shores of the Nant-y-Moch reservoir, this is the Eaglebrook mine, also sometimes called the Nant-y-Cagal mine. Of course, the place has been worked over to within an inch of its life by the forestry commission, "landscaped" to some extent- and yet, despite that, (and the dreich weather when we visited) there is still a sense of magic here, with much to wonder at and imagine.
This site is bisected by the road that runs along the shores of the reservoir. The road dips and curves, no doubt because of a change in the levels caused by the mine tips, which are extensive. The tips on the lakeside reveal a capped shaft. Uphill from the lake there are more tips and shafts tantalisingly showing between the spruce trees.
The mine was first opened under the auspices of the Company of Mines Adventurers, the ill-fated body that was responsible for a less than sparkling period in the life of the Esgair Hir and Fraith mines, uphill and across the valley from here. This was in the early C18th until 1722. The mine then lay fallow until the middle of the C19th, with activity continuing until 1875. At the east shaft, beside the "new" reservoir, the mine is said to have sunk to an amazing 50 fathoms.
,All that can be seen today are some tantalising remains, a run-in adit and a shaft buried deep in the forestry. The tips are particularly rich in minerals- if the mine had been worked with modern processes, there wouldn't be anything left but inert rubble. However, bear in mind that this is an SSSI and mineral collecting is strictly forbidden here. It's also very selfish, just like the mountain bikers and two strokers who ignore the signs and go roaring around the place in search of thrills.
There are the remains of two waterwheel pits and un underground culvert, not to mention the impressive tips, which size for size confirm the reports of the 50 fathom level. There was a lot of work done here- I just wish the forestry could have left some of the structures to weather and decay, so that industrial archaeologists could get some nice photos :-)
We sighted some magnificent Red Kites and other fascinating birds of prey when we visited, and despite it being an overcast day, the atmosphere in the woods was rather special. I was slightly gratified when brashing around in the trees trying to find the shaft (box ticked) to find the remains of a forestry commission vehicle, an all-terrain type, but not a Land Rover as there was no aluminium or recogniseable "Landy" bits.
The site is easily accessible beside the road at SN7361489247.
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