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THE CAVES IN ALLT GWYN, DWYGYFYLCHI,
CARNARVONSHIRE, IN 1896.
BY LADY PAGET.
ETWEEN two and three miles on the west
side of Conway, in Carnarvonshire, rises the mountain of Penmaen Bach, in the parish of Dwygyfylchi.'
It possesses three headlands, formed by a depression near the summit, between the three
highest points of the mountain ; which depression is called in Welsh" Isa-pen-Isa.”
The larger part of Penmaen Bach, lying towards Conway, is occupied by the ancient fortress of Caer Seiont, which is built of uncemented stone. It is round the headland best known as Penmaen Bach that a new road on the north side, made by Telford, was opened in 1827. The base of this headland being washed by the sea, a capacious tunnel has been constructed for the Chester and Holyhead railway. From this point the mountain
1 The parish of Dwygyvylchi (Dwy-Gyfylchi), according to Lewis, is situated in the union of Conway, hundred of Llêch-wedd-uchâv, and county of Carnarvon, four miles west from Aberconway on the road from Liverpool to Holyhead. It is comprehended in the mountainous district of the county, and bounded on the east by the estuary of the river Conway, which here falls into the Irish Sea. In 1826, during the improvements of the road, a new route was formed through the parish to Aberconway, nearly four miles in extent, at a large cost. This passes through the immense rocky mountain of Penmaen Bâch, which here projects into the sea; and being carried immediately above the
sea, is impassible during the winter on account of the heavy gales which prevail, compelling the mail coaches and other traffic to travel along the old line of road through the mountain passes of Sychnant. On the mountains are numerous ancient encampments and fortresses, extensive and singular in construction, one being enclosed by a strong wall with facing of uncemented stones; circular enclosures with central upstanding stones; upright monoliths, and carneddau.
recedes south, terminating in the headland called Allt Gwyn, and it is to the south side of this headland that attention must now be given, as it is the subject of the present paper. Allt Gwyn is more than 1,000 ft. in height, and on its summit are the ruins of an ancient British fortress. It is separated from the almost adjoining hills on the south by the formerly dangerous mass
called the Sychnant, described by Pennant. “ The traveller labours up the steep ascent of the Sychnant, with a horrible and almost precipitous mountain on one side, and hills, with tops broken into most singular crags, on the other.” This road of Pennant's is now seen at the base of Allt Gwyn. A newer road, made by Sylvester, and opened in 1772, on the side of the opposite hill, is the present carriage route for tourists from Conway, and is quite steep enough.
It is when standing on this road that an opening may be observed on the side of Allt Gwyn, about 200 ft. or more from its base, and which tradition has handed down as the entrance to an old Roman mine. This assertion seems to have fully satisfied several curious inquirers, so that, with the exception of a few youthful explorers, it had remained unnoticed until the year 1893, when
some quarrymen, inhabitants of the parish, thought they would investigate the supposed mine. After a careful examination they concluded that it had never been a mine at any period.
This was mentioned to Lady Paget in the autumn of 1896, when she returned, after a long absence, to Dwygyfylchi, and lodged with Mr. and Mrs. John Jones, of Hafod-y-Rhiw, who live near to Mr. and Mrs. William Jones, of Tan-y-Fron. As Mr. John, and Mr. William
Jones were trustworthy and intelligent, well qualified to give an opinion upon stones, or any mining operations, their assistance was secured by Lady Paget to enter the mountain on the south side; and thus, on Saturday, October 3rd, 1896, taking a supply of candles and matches, they entered a large cave with half a foot of water at the bottom of it. The water seemed to percolate through
the roof of the cave, and gradually disappear in a gravelly soil. There were no signs of a spring of water, but previous heavy rains would account for the presence of it. They found, on measurement, this cave was seventy-six yards long, and beyond it was a smaller one forty-four yards long, five feet wide and seven feet high. Then appeared some artificial stone work, seemingly erected for protection, and behind this erection was a smaller cave, measuring sixty feet long, six feet nine inches high, and