For hundreds years 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 then had to be burnt in a kiln to produce quicklime, a very useful but very corrosive and dangerous substance. For hundreds of years local 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, and 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 walk through the site you are taking a journey through time, and walking in the footsteps of many hundreds and thousands of people before you, people whose hard work, sweat and drudgery shaped this landscape and left a rich industrial legacy.
For more information about the Black Mountain Quarries, about the exciting CALCH project that is currently working to discover, celebrate and repair the remains of the lime industry of the Black Mountain Quarries, and to find out about opportunities to get involved you can visit the CALCH website.