Betws-y-Coed is today in the Snowdonia National Park; the
Afon Llugwy joins the River Conwy to the north of the settlement.
A little way outside Betws-y-Coed on the road to Capel Curig
is Miners' Bridge, which spans the Afon Llugwy. The famous
Swallow Falls is further up the same river valley.
Whilst this albumen print has no date the picture was probably
taken in 1890 or before as it is mounted on a board which has
an image from 1890, that is more readily dateable, on the reverse.
Lead mining was a local industry and local miners would use
this steep ladder over the river as a short cut to get to their
place of work.
Two roughly contemporary newspaper articles, aimed at the
holiday makers of the day, describe the scenery and short extracts
are quoted below:
"Wellington Journal", 2 June 1888:
"Our next excursion was to Bettws-y-Coed - the
station in the wood - and taking an early train after about
an hour's ride up the Conway valley, we arrived at out destination.
We took the road to the right, up through the village in
order to visit the Swallow Falls, passing on our way the
Miner's Bridge, an old wooden structure across the river,
and soon reached this beautiful cataract".
"Cardiff Times", 10 August 1889:
"In the current number of "Illustrations",
edited by Francis Geo Heath, is a most appreciative and
profusely illustrated article on North Wales. It is an attempt
to do justice to the beauty and romantic character of Welsh
scenery, and as such demands more than a passing notice.
From it we make the following extracts. ...
Miners' Bridge and Swallow Falls, in one direction, and
Fairy Glen and Conway Falls in another, are typical "bits" that
are entrancingly beautiful".
And describing the ravines along the
"But grand indeed is the site of these ravines when rain
has plentifully fallen over the mountain region, for the dreamy
trickle of the stream is changed into a loud roar, and the
luxury of the quiet motion to the furious dash and foam of
the impetuous torrent".