Mining & Caving terminology



A horizontal shaft driven to the mine workings from the surface, for drainage and transport purposes.


An inclined tramway, used for raising / lowering waggons of slate. Usually the trucks are counterbalanced by a small but very heavy truck which will pass underneath the slate truck. There is also usually a drum with a brake at the top of the incline. Some inclines are water powered instead.


A flat area at a constant height throughout the mine, usually with a tramway network on it. They are numbered from 1 at the highest level of the mine in ascending order to the lowest point of the mine. Inclines are numbered from the two extreme levels, e.g. 5/9 incline goes between levels 5 and 9 inclusive.


A caving term meaning a vertical drop.


Single Rope Technique

This is a method used to ascend a single hanging rope. Generally you start at the top of a mine, abseil into it, and then use SRT to get back out again.


Moving horizontally along a vertical face, with no floor to stand on.


A band of rock, slate in this case. Veins are rarely horizontal, in the Rhosydd area they are at about 22 degrees to the horizontal, and in the Corris area, they are at about 80 degrees. The angle greatly influences the nature of the mine.

Welsh words, used in mining and cave naming

Note, these are Welsh, so you may have difficulty pronouncing some of them!.




Same as Coombe in English or Corrie in Scottish and Cirque in French mean the same. It roughly means a valley, but more specifically a valley with three sides of mountains. They are usually formed by glaciation, and often have a little lake in them.

Hen Ffynhonnau

Old springs.

Hesp Alyn

Dry or Barren Alyn. Alyn is the name of the river.






Welsh for hole or pit.

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Last modified on: 25th August 2017 by email the webmaster

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