The Nantlle Valley
() is an area in Gwynedd
, north Wales
, characterised by its large number of small settlements.
Around 80% of the population of the Nantlle Valley speak Welsh
as their first language. Some of the communities came into being as a result of slate quarrying
in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. There were a number of quarries in the valley, the largest being the Dorothea
and Pen yr Orsedd
quarries. Although the major quarries are worked out, there remains demand for slate waste for garden decoration. The horse-drawn Nantlle Railway
served the quarries from 1865 to 1963.
In 1991 Antur Nantlle Cyf
was established as a community enterprise to work for the benefit of the Nantlle Valley and its surrounding area. The valley was also where Josie Russell and her father lived after the Russell murder case
Since quarrying ended in 1970, the Dorothea Quarry has flooded and become a popular site for scuba diving
(even though there are no facilities provided, and diving is officially banned in the quarry); in places the quarry is over 100 metres deep with a network of flooded tunnels, and the unregulated nature and depth of the site has encouraged some divers to overestimate their capabilities – in the decade 1994-2004 21 divers lost their lives in the quarry.