At the Great Orme, Llandudno a day out here will include a modern stone circle, Bronze Age copper mines, a burial chamber, a stone row and numerous Neolithic mining sites as well as the remains of a probable stone circle. There are many ways and routes to visit the sites on this headland which depend on the time and energy you have. It can involve a whole day walking or a scenic drive around the cliff lined coast road stopping off at various points.
For a walk if you park by the café (free parking) above the pier near the cable car station it makes a good starting point.
The first point of
interest is on the grassy area beneath Happy Valley. This stone circle was
erected in 1963 for the Llandudno Eisteddfod. It is an attractive site
with pleasant views of the bay. It is a long climb from here up the Great Orme
or you can drive. If you take the Coastal Road there is a £2 toll charge.
1963 Stone Circle
At the road junction
entrance to the mine there is a standing stone that was re-erected here.
The mine manager said that during excavation near the tramway several
found in a group and some were “too big to move with machinery”. It is believed
to be one of the remains of a stone circle in the northeast of the
workings lost by later mine operations. He also said several possible Neolithic
bell pits were discovered where chert had been mined as no flint was
available in the area and this could be “knapped” into tools.
Standing stone with the burial mound in the distance
possible survivor of a stone circle
From the outside you get good views of the excavated mine workings. Excavation at the Great Orme Mines began in 1987 when thousands of tons of rubble from later mining were removed. Over 4 miles (6km) of tunnels have so far been surveyed, making them the largest prehistoric mines in the world. During the twelve years that archaeologists have been excavating, over 3,000 stone hammers (beach stones picked for their hardness) and 30,000 bone tools have been unearthed. This is probably the largest collection of prehistoric tools in the world.
Excavation reports in detail can be found at http://www.greatorme.freeserve.co.uk/excavation.html#excavation
Admission prices are £4.40
and the mines are open every day
from the beginning of February to the end of October.
View of the mine
the mine take the left fork near the entrance and follow the track that
goes back round above the mine shop towards some houses in the southeast.
You will see a grass mound and the chamber across a field but no access is
allowed from here and you have to follow the track. Go through a red metal
gate, pass some houses and take the second right, then next right called
Cromlech Road. Cross the stile at the end to reach the site.
chamber and mound looking towards the mine
is a small chamber with four uprights about 4.5 feet (1.3 metres) tall supporting the remains of a broken
capstone. It is sited beside a mound to the northwest.
of the chamber
to the mine entrance by the standing stone and turn right then next left
and cross the tram lines. Follow the road to a picnic site and car park
area and where a farm lane forks left. Follow the farm lane, it is a
public footpath, and continue until you reach a well built into the wall
on the left called Ffynnon Rufeinig. From here the stone row is north
towards the sea. You can walk on to meet a gate on the left of the track where
you can turn right on a virtually invisible footpath from where the row is
northeast. Either way head towards the sea and the cliff line near
telegraph poles and
when the land goes downhill you will come to it. Ignore the old stone
walls you come to first.
row stretches for about 100 metres towards the sea in a north westerly
direction. It is about 2 metres wide and made up of mainly small stones,
the largest being around 4.5 feet (1.3 metres) tall.