Minera Limestone Quarry was once the largest lime production site in North Wales, with lime burning records going back as far as 1620. Full scale production ran from the late 1800’s up to 1993, and now the site is a stunning nature reserve in the care of North Wales Wildlife Trust.
Our video takes one on a journey from the beginnings of the quarry right up to present day use.
The Hoffman Kiln
The Hoffman Kiln is a counter current heat exchange system, essentially a main fire/heat source surrounded by smaller rooms where limestone bricks and traditional flagstones can be fired until completely vitrified.
The Minera Hoffman Kiln is one of a small handful of such designs left in the UK, with many left in an abandoned state. It’s hoped that the Minera Limestone Kiln will become a point of interest for tourists with it now being under the care of the Wildlife Trust.
There was once a huge central chimney that towered above the limestone quarry, but the only kilns left with a complete chimney are at Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum and Llanymynech Heritage Area.
A kiln is used with limestone to induce a chemical reaction at around 900 °C, the end result being calcium oxide (quicklime) which can in turn be applied to building materials such as paving slabs and also soil fertiliser, where it increases the calcium levels in the ground.
Minera’s tranformation to a nature reserve is certainly an interesting story. Previously under the ownership of the Tarmac company, it was sold to the North Wales Wildlife Trust for the sum of just £1 – becoming the Trust’s 36th nature reserve in the North Wales region.
At the time of sale, Tarmac also kindly donated £100,000 to the Wildlife Trust to ensure the site moved in the right direction quickly and was made safe for public access.
Today the nature trails weave through the limestone features, with clearly marked paths making it a great location for all the family.
It’s fun to spot a huge variety of wild flowers and grasses, there are at least 3 varieties of bats and the limestone cliffs are now home to peregrine falcons and ravens.
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