01-May-2012 -- I am on my way back home from an appointment and it will take me roughly along 52N give or take a few miles either side - roads never go in a straight line do they? Well not in the UK they don't.
I have been here a couple of times before and I am surprised when checking through my records that it was August 2010 that I was last here.
With the benefit of having been here before I know exactly where to pull off, so swing in and park up. I have plenty of time so I intend to explore the mine area a bit more this time.
The keep out danger sign has now gone from the gates, they are still padlocked so climb over and first things first, head off for the CP.
Walk around to the point and document it. Job done, I set off back to the entrance to the mine area. Instead of turning left and out, I turn right and off up the slope. It's still very wet here, so I have brought my "wellies" with me.
The road curves around the hill and climbs ever upwards, as it does so the views out over the countryside get better and better.
At a fork in the road, I swing to the right and up a short incline, what I find is something they didn't bother to take away when the mine shut down. An 8,000 gallon diesel tank.
Back to the "main drag" as it were and continue up the long incline, finally I round the bend and I am at the top of the mine. Climb up to the top of the ridge and look down into the hole left behind. I estimate it to be about 300 feet across and about 50 feet deep.
Time for some quick maths - the hole is roughly circular, so the volume is roughly 3,535,000 cubic feet. Given an average rock density of 2.5x that of water and cubic foot of water is roughly 62lbs. So how much rock is missing? Roughly 245,000 tons. Doesn't seem much for a mine does it? We'll come back to that later.
This part of Wales is pretty sparsely populated and you can drive a fair way without seeing anything. A quick search turns up this web site
Britain through time.
With this nugget of information from 1870.
LLANSAWEL, a village and a parish in Llandilofawr district, Carmarthen. The village stands on the river Cothi, amid mountain scenery with a romantic view, 8 miles NW of Llangadock r. station, and 9 N of Llandilo-fawr; is a polling-place; was once a markettown; and has a post office under Carmarthen, and fairs on the Friday after 12 May, 15 July, 23 Oct., and the Friday after 12 Nov. The parish includes the townships of Edwins, Ganol, Glyn, and W en. Acres, 10,017. Real property, £4,323. Pop., 1,003. Houses, 207. The property is divided among a few. Edwins House is the seat of the Williamses. The living is a vicarage, an aexed to the vicarage of Cayo-Conwyl, in the diocese of St. David's. The church is good.
10,000 acres, only 1,000 people. Hmmm, turns out population hit a first peak in about 1855 and by the 1961 census had dropped to about 450! Or about 1 person for every 22 acres. By 2010 the population had increased to just over 1600, still over 6 acres per person.
Back to the amount of rock that has been removed. Further research turns up records that suggest the mine used to be a hill that was over 600 feet higher than it currently is...so how much rock is that? If we assume a cone - 1,060,000 tons. If a cylinder then 3,180,000 tons, so somewhere in between.