Mine Exploration

Go underground and explore a new world. There are many mines around Snowdonia that reveal a lost dark world that is both fascinating and intriguing.

Underground Exploration

With head torches on, the underground mines can be entered. There are a variety of mines, and routes through the mines, which offer a range of challenges to suit different ages and experiences. From exploring tunnels and chambers looking at old artefacts, to crossing flooded chambers by boat or traversing high on ropes and abseiling down, there really is something for everyone.

The history of mining, and in particular the slate mining, is a huge part of the heritage of North Wales. Exploring and appreciating these mines offers a unique opportunity for groups to gain an insight into a different culture and time. A world away from any show mines or caverns, our qualified instructors have access to abandoned mines which have been approved for group use. There are often artefacts and clues to the way the miners lived and worked left in the mines for you to see.

Kitted up in waterproofs, wellies, and a helmet, exploring the mines is a full day activity. Journeying through the mine you will usually pop out in a different place to where you went in!


Although we have many large slate quarries just down the road, the opportunities for underground mine adventures are a little further south near Blaenau Ffestiniog and in Cwm Penmachno. The journey to each mine takes approximately 45minutes. It is well worth the journey to explore this unique environment under the hills of North Wales.

Near Blaenau Ffestiniog is the slate mine of Wrysgan. A mine with large open chambers the only time you may need to duck your head is when you are going through the short connecting tunnels. You can journey up through this mine from level 1 to level 5 looking at artefacts, how the miners worked the mine and their working conditions. You may well stop for a candlelit lunch along the way! This mine also provides the opportunity to traverse on ropes high above the chamber below and then abseil down from one level to the next.

Another popular slate mine is Rhiwbach in Cwm Penmachno near Betws y Coed. Walking up through a mossy, coniferous woodland to find the mine entrance provides an intriguing start to the adventure. This is a mine with flooded chambers, a maze of tunnels, and plenty of artefacts. Using an inflatable raft, ropes and a map the group journey through this mine seeking out a good underground spot for a bite of lunch and later emerging from the mine high on the hillside. The walk back down to the minibus takes you past old abandoned houses which the miners would stay in and then zig zags down through the quarry to the valley floor.



As with our other activities, mine exploration can be booked by private Adult or Family Groups. Prices start at £195 for two people with each additional person (up to a maximum group size of 10) adding £15 to the cost. Contact us for available dates.

Mine exploration is an integral part of most of our Schools and Youth courses at Arete. Example 5 day catered residetial from £235 per pupil.

A trip underground could well be integrated into either the multi-activity or rock-based Gold DofE Residentials or young persons' Summer Camps.