The Crown Estate has completed a deal to sell a historic mining complex in Wales to a special preservation trust.
Cwmystwyth Mines, in Ceredigion, has been sold by The Crown Estate to Cambrian Mines Trust. The sale, which sees the Trust take over responsibility for the site’s future preservation, comes following a significant investment programme by The Crown Estate to safeguard the mines’ legacy.
Mineral specialists Wardell Armstrong acted as The Crown Estate’s agent for the deal.
The site is the biggest complex of surface and underground mining remains in central Wales. A scheduled ancient monument, the site was recently described as “the jewel in the crown of Welsh mining remains” by Graham Levins, secretary of the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust. The first records of the site begin in 1184 however archaeological investigations have revealed stone hammer and mauls from the Roman era.
During its history, ownership of Cwmystwyth Mines changed hands more than a dozen times and while some, including Chauncey Townsend, made a fortune from the site, others such as the Alderson Brothers were bankrupted by it. In 1950 the mines ceased to operate and were abandoned by The Gallois Lead and Zinc Mines Ltd. The Crown Estate was next to take responsibility for the site. The organisation invested significantly between 2007 and 2012 in safety improvements and consolidation work to existing buildings before completing the sale to Cambrian Mines Trust.
Malcolm Burns, portfolio manager for the west of England and Wales at The Crown Estate, said: “Over the last five years we have been working to safeguard the site for future generations, in line with our deeply held commitment to the stewardship of the assets we manage. Cambrian Mines Trust’s knowledge of mine preservation makes them ideally placed to build on our work, securing the long term preservation of this valuable historical and cultural site for future generations.”
Roy Fellows, secretary of the Cambrian Mines Trust, said: “The site is of major historic importance and has been a Mecca for cavers and mine explorers for years. The Trust is indebted to The Crown Estate which has acted in an exemplary manner in helping to preserve this important site for the future, the organisation’s actions are highly commendable and deserve our best thanks.”