Book review: Rich Mountains of Lead

Mike Moore reviews a valuable addition to any mine explorer’s book collection.

This new book is a detailed study of  the lead, silver and zinc mines of the Cwm Rheidol and Ystumtuen orefield, covering the history of all 40 mines in the valley, with archaeological descriptions of the surface and underground workings, and is supported by a dedicated chapter on the geology of  the central mid-Wales orefield.

Ioan Lord’s book is superb, complementing David Bick’s volumes on Mid Wales which are great as guide books to the area, but this goes much further and interprets the mining archaeology, the layouts of the mines and the working and processing of the ore. Ioan has also included details of the people and their families that worked these mines.

The volume contains superb colour photographs, plans and layouts which, due to the A4 format, are clear and easy to understand. Ioan is also a mine explorer, and there are grid references and excellent site descriptions which make it so much easier for visitors to the mines, especially as the sites can be remote and involve a long trudge across open moorland.

The book helps the visitor to navigate and prepares you for exploration of the sites as they are today. This is a superb volume, which is not only a good read but also a well-researched document.

Rich Mountains of Lead: The metal mining ndustry of Cwm Rheidol and Ystumtuen

Ioan Lord

A4, hardback with colour dust jacket, 272pp, includes plans, surveys, sections and a wide range of old and new photographs.

“Rich Mountains of Lead” is available from Moorebooks, £45 + p&p

Reviewed by Mike Moore