Rich history of the Black Mountain’s white gold revealed

A new self-guided multimedia heritage trail telling the rich history of the Black Mountain lime quarries was launched yesterday (Thursday, 21 August).

The CALCH trail, created by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, uses way markers, an audio guide, leaflets and a mobile phone app to guide visitors around the “white gold” quarries of the Black Mountains.

Culture Minister, John Griffiths and local born broadcaster Roy Noble officially launched the trail at the Black Mountain Centre in Brynaman. Also attending were many of the local volunteers who assisted Dyfed Archaeological Trust with the survey, excavation and conservation works on the site throughout the three year project.

The £300,000 project has received funding from the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The Black Mountain Centre, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and the National Museum of Wales were also involved in delivering the project.

Mr Griffiths said: ““I am very pleased we have been able to support this exciting project that will help tell the forgotten story how the limestone industry helped build Wales. I believe it is important that heritage sites are accessible and enjoyable places both for visitors and local people. The Black Mountain Quarries Trail will further strengthen appreciation of Wales’ historic environment.”

Duncan Schlee, CALCH Project Manager, said: ”It has been a great pleasure working with local communities and our partners to research the history of the lime industry on the Black Mountain. The trail and audio tour around the quarries will bring this forgotten aspect of Carmarthenshire’s history to life for visitors to this beautiful part of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.”

Ken Murphy, Director, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, added: “The CALCH Project has been a great opportunity for the Trust to develop new working partnerships and to promote the understanding and appreciation of Wales’ industrial heritage to local communities and visitors to Carmarthenshire.”

Roy Noble said: “The Black Mountain, Y Mynydd Du, is my spiritual home, so any event , gathering or initiative that profiles the legends , man’s place and activity on this mystical moorland, has my support, and to have my voice wafting in the breeze relating the story of calch, lime, and its uses, is a pleasing bonus for me .”

Mr John Cook, Chief Executive for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to support the launch of the new CALCH trail. Our partners and communities have provided a tremendous amount of research, conservation and outreach work to the different elements of the project to ensure that it has been a success. It’s projects like these that dramatically raise the profile of the accessible heritage attractions we have on our doorstep.  Engaging with local communities and visitors through our local heritage and diversity means that initiatives like these will continue to inspire and enthuse others to share our history and tell our stories.”

The trail includes information at the Black Mountain Quarries site supported by an audio trail on the Black Mountain Quarries App which is available to download on all mobile phone operating platforms. Way markers around the site and a leaflet will help direct people around the quarries and prompt them when to listen to the commentary.