Parys Mountain Copper MinesMynydd Parys, Amlwch, Isle of Anglesey LL68, UK
The historic Parys Mountain Copper Mines near Amlwch on Anglesey have been worked since the Bronze age – 3500 years ago!
During the 18th and 19th century they were the largest copper mines in the world!
Parys Mountain is one of the few sites in Britain where there is evidence for the prehistoric beginnings of the British metal mining industry. Even the Romans knew of the riches in the mountain and ingots of copper have been discovered bearing Roman marks.
When the mine was the largest in Europe (during the 1780s) Parys Mountain dominated the world’s copper market. Its rise severely damaged the mining industry in Cornwall and the copper produced lined the war ships of Britain.
On the plus side, the Parys Mine Company produced its own coinage, between 1787 and 1793. The Parys Penny, also known as the Anglesey Penny, was used by the mine company to pay workers. It is thought that around 10 million pennies and half pennies were minted!
These days, due to the high level of soil contamination, very little life survives on or near the mountain, but there are a number of examples of rare plants and bacteria (delicious).
There are designated trails, from which you are not advised to stray from, and a windmill to take shelter in (if need be) at the top! The trails will take you on a tour of the extensive surface remains of hundreds of years of open cast mining – tidy!
The Summit Windmill was built in 1878 in the hope of reducing pumping costs for the deepening mine shafts. The windmill was unique on Anglesey because it had 5 sails.
If you wish to delve deeper and explore the historic mine levels, you need to contact the Parys Underground Group. If you don’t fancy that, then take a look at the video tab above to catch the first of 4 episodes of the Extreme Archaeologists going underground at Parys.
Should the weather not be suitable for walking, then you can still enjoy the mining history in the Copper Kingdom Heritage Centre down in the Port of Amlwch.