© Croeso Cymru / Visit Wales
Despite dire warnings by our parents that we were on no account
to go there because of its sheer cliff faces and open mine shafts,
most of the children who grew up in Amlwch during the last war
spent many happy hours playing around the scarred lunar landscape
of the former copper mines of Mynydd Parys.
Health and Safety regulations were unheard of then,
and as there were no adults present to chide or to guide, there was
no limit as to where our imagination could take us over its broad
heather and spoil covered slopes. In a way, the whole
strangely beautiful, dangerous and therefore exciting landscape was
there for us to do much as we wanted with, and in this way it
became in our minds ours by default.
For that reason it found a place in our hearts, for no one else
seemingly cared for the place, and it became nothing more than an
unofficial rubbish dump. The noise and bustle had gone, but
in the silence broken only by our laughter, the shrill call of a
falcon, the distinctive croak of a raven or the barking of a fox,
it became for us boys a magical place full of benign ghosts from
We knew little of its former glory as a mine which briefly
governed the world price of copper, or the incredible story of
Twm Chwareu Tég, the local entrepreneur whose then-novel
business strategies have since become the norm. All we knew
was that Trefor's grandfather had been a miner there, and Mair's
grandmother was once a "copper laddie," which to our minds was all
the more reason to make it ours.
Little surprise then that
after retiring as an engineer I jumped at the chance to supervise
the much needed consolidation work on the Pearl Cornish Engine
House on the mountain's eastern slope. Its tall chimney had
fallen down many years before and the ivy clad engine house was
very close to total collapse when work began.
Indeed some people in authority had unashamedly said that it
should have been left to become what they described as "a
romantic ruin." Fortunately, others thought differently and the
limited funding available was just about sufficient to replace
rotting lintels and re-point the crumbling walls, making the
building safe once more to be enjoyed and claimed by future
generations as their heritage.
The dozens of open shafts dotted around the mountain had earlier
been capped and made safe, but it soon became obvious that other
historically significant buildings and features needed the same
loving care and attention if they were to survive.
Thanks to the supreme efforts of the Amlwch Industrial Heritage
Trust over many years the Pearl engine house chimney is now being
rebuilt and the remains of the Cairns windmill saved from further
deterioration to serve as a visitor centre, and the whole mountain
landscape adapted as a colourful and unique attraction bringing in
many thousands of visitors annually - that's our