Black Mountain Quarries
Also known as Herbert’s Quarry, this is a large area of abandoned limestone quarries in a stunning location on Black Mountain. The site has panoramic views over the Fforest Fawr Geopark and the west part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
For centuries, the limestone in this hillside was quarried away and burnt in kilns to produce lime (or calch) for use as an agricultural fertiliser, in the building trade for plaster and mortar, and in many industrial processes such as iron productions. Once quarried from the hillside, the limestone was burnt in a kiln to produce quicklime, a very useful but very corrosive and dangerous substance.
Farmers from both sides of the mountain would travel to the quarries with their horse and cart in the spring to extract and burn the limestone, then transport the quicklime back to their farms to put to good use. Over time the production of lime from the quarries grew and grew, and eventually it was exploited on a commercial scale. The quarry closed and production ceased in the 1950s.
The Black Mountain Quarries are a time capsule of a very important aspect of Welsh industrial heritage. There are physical traces of lime exploitation spanning many hundreds of years with quarry workings, lime kilns, and spoil heaps from small scale local exploitation of the 1700s to large industrial use in the 20th century. As you explore the site, you are walking in the footsteps of many thousands of people whose hard work, sweat and drudgery shaped this landscape and left a rich industrial legacy.
An exciting project, CALCH (www.calch.org.uk), worked to discover, celebrate and repair the remains of the lime industry of the Black Mountain Quarries.’
Visiting the Black Mountain Quarries
The quarries are owned by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and are located on open access land. Please be aware that the land is a wildlife habitat and is used for grazing livestock. In order to protect nesting birds, lambs and sheep, dogs must be on a fixed lead whenever livestock are near, and at all times from 1 March to 31 July.
How to get there
The workings are just off the A4069 between Brynamman and Llangadog.
Nearest town or village
OS grid reference
OS Landranger 160, Explorer map OL12 – SN733187
Two free car parks, a short stroll from the quarries.
The CALCH project is developing safe way-marked self-guiding trails around the site. These will follow existing tracks and paths. Some of this ground is rough tussocky grassland and rocky terrain. The short grassy areas and exposed rock can be slippery when wet. Spoil heaps and scree slopes can be unstable underfoot and should not be climbed.