Parys Mountain

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Parys Mountain, locally known as Mynydd Parys, is a vast and visually stunning copper mine located in north east Anglesey, Wales. The mountain has been designated as an official anchor point along the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), with a unique and surreal appearance that has earned it a spot in a number of movies and TV shows, including Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. That being said, the vibrant and vivid colours of this ancient mining site are certainly worth seeing if you’re ever near the illustrious island of Anglesey.

Photo by Kat Dunbar

Once the Largest Copper Mine in the World

Archaeological evidence shows that the landscape was originally mined 4,000 years ago, reaching its peak output during the 18th century. In fact, it was considered the most productive copper mine in the world during Victorian times. A voluminous seam of copper ore was discovered in 1768, and by the 1780s the mine had quickly become the epicentre of the global copper mining industry.

From the early 1800’s the land was heavily exploited by underground mining activities, but by 1900 most large mining operations had ceased. Underground explorations have revealed artefacts that prove the area was inhabited and mined as far back as the dawn of the Bronze Ages, making the mountain one of few sites in the UK where prehistoric mining has been confirmed and studied. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the site was reviewed as part of a development programme, at which time it was discovered that there’s an estimated 75 kilograms of gold lying within the mountain as well.

Things to Do Near Parys Mountain

The small island of Anglesey isn’t exactly overflowing with tourist attractions, but its natural beauty more than makes up for the rural emptiness. The closest town is Amlwch, which is home to the old Porth Wen Brickworks and Copper Kingdom Centre – a museum that teaches you about the town’s history as a major copper producer.

The most intriguing scenic attraction in the town is the Anglesey Coastal Path, which stretches 200km and follows most of the island’s coast line. Following the path south will bring you to Traeth Beach. From there you could visit Hen Capel Lligwy – a 12th century chapel, or head over to the Gwylfan Moelfre Seawatch to catch an excellent view of a shoreside sunset.

Staying Safe and Having Fun at Parys Mountain

It’s important for tourists to understand that Parys Mountain can be just as dangerous as it is beautiful, which is why guided tours are advisable if you want to get a closer look without risking life and limb.  The landscape is littered with unstable rock formations, steep cliffs, open mine shafts, and rough terrain that can present unexpected hiking hazards.

Thus, it’s best to schedule a tour in advance to ensure you’re in the company of someone who knows the area. A guided tour will also help you learn more about the mine’s history from an educated and experienced professional, which is easier and more enjoyable than having to research these things yourself. Additionally, you’ll want to bring tough hiking footwear, suitable apparel, and maybe some bottled water and snacks.

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