Blaenau Ffestiniog was once the capital of the slate quarrying industry and the huge spoil mounds are a testament to that past industry. The area lies within the beautiful and lush Vale of Ffestiniog, which is cloaked in gorgeous moss-rich woodlands. The narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway links Blaenau Ffestiniog with Porthmadog on the coast. This is a spectacular ride as the line twists and turns its way through the countryside. There are numerous walks for you to go on to explore the area, or you could visit one of the attractions in the town.
Blaenau Ffestiniog Attractions
About a mile down the railway track from Blaenau Ffestiniog is Ffestiniog Power Station at Tanygrisiau. This was the first pumped storage station built for the CEGB and you can take an hour long tour to find out all about it. If you’re there under your own steam, you can also drive up to Stwlan Dam visible throughout the Vale of Ffestiniog that holds back the upper reservoir.
Like the steam heritage railway, the main attractions at Blaenau Ffestiniog are all to do with the past slate mining. Llechwedd Slate Caverns is a major family tourist attraction where you can take the Miner’s Tramway into the side of the mountain or the Deep Mine tour on Britain’s steepest passenger railway. You’re accompanied by an audio tour of a miner describing the working of the mine. There is also a reconstructed Victorian mining village with shops of the era and the Miners Arms pub. You can even buy slate based products as gifts. Llechwedd Slate Caverns are situated on the A470 between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Dolwyddelan.
A selection of beautiful walks branch out from the town into the Vale of Ffestiniog. At Tanybwlch Halt there is a nature trail through Coed Llyn Mair National Nature Reserve where there are fantastic views over the Vale of Ffestiniog and the woodlands that cover the steep hillsides in this area. Llyn Mair is a lake in the Vale that you can walk around for a good long walk with stunning scenery. It’s also way marked, so it’s easy to follow, and there are artworks positioned along the way to make the most of the area.