In their heyday the Parys mines were among the wonders of the world – visited by men like Michael Faraday and James Watt, the best scientists and engineers of the day. The output from the mines dominated the international copper market and nearby Amlwch grew from a “small cove between two steep rocks” into the world’s major exporter of copper. The port became so busy and important that an Act of Parliament had to be passed in 1793, enlarging and regulating it.
Under the inspired management of Anglesey-born lawyer Thomas Williams, novel uses were found for the copper, such as sheathing for the hulls of wooden warships. Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory thus gained speed and manoeuverability crucial to success at Trafalgar. At this time, Amlwch even minted its own copper coins!
After the mines became exhausted, Amlwch port developed its own thriving ship-building industry, launching vessels famous for their speed and beautiful lines.
The legacy from all this activity is two amazing places for you to visit and discover. The old mine-workings at Mynydd Parys are visually stunning, set in a landscape of wonderful red, yellow and purple coloured rocks. The resemblance to the surface of the moon has led to science-fiction films being made here! Heritage trails on the mountain allow you to discover for yourself the vast man-made opencast pits and ruined mine-buildings.
Porth Amlwch retains many original buildings to explore, like the Copper Bins, the Watch House and the Workshop Chimneys. At the Sail Loft Visitor Centre, enjoy a delicious snack or browse the gift shop but don’t miss the exhibition of Amlwch’s world renowned ship-building heritage. In fact, the Porth is a wonderful place in which to simply relax and watch the activity in the harbour!