Different types of UK slate and where they are quarried
The UK’s slate industry had its heyday during the industrial revolution, but since the rise of cheap, man-made materials in the 20thcentury the industry has diminished significantly.
Whilst many of the UK’s slate quarries have now closed their doors, there are still a few quarries in operation up and down the country producing beautiful, high quality, natural slate.
Here are a few of the most notable types of slate produced here in the UK and where they are quarried.
Welsh slate is renowned worldwide for its beauty and quality. When Wales’ slate industry was at its peak, it boasted the world’s largest slate quarries and was even said to have “roofed the industrial revolution” with Welsh slate being shipped all around the world for use as roof tiles.
Today, most Welsh slate comes from one of the following quarries:
- Penrhyn quarry
- Cwt-y-Bugail quarry
- Llechwedd quarry
- Berwyn quarry
Welsh slate comes in a variety of attractive shades and varieties including:
- Welsh Heather Blue slate
- Welsh Plum slate
- Welsh Dark Blue Grey slate
Slate has been quarried in Cumbria for hundreds of years, with large-scale production taking off during the industrial revolution. It is best known for its distinctive green Westmorland slate which is made from metamorphosed volcanic ash from the Borrowdale volcanic mountains.
Today, some of the most notable slate quarries in Cumbria are:
- Honister slate mine
- Elterwater quarry
- Kirkby-in-Furness quarry
- Broughton Moor quarry
Two varieties of Cumbrian slate dominate the industry, these are:
Delabole quarry in Cornwall is the oldest working slate quarry in Cornwall. It is an ancient quarry that has been operating continuously since the 15thcentury whilst other surrounding quarries in Cornwall have come and gone.
Today, Delabole quarry is Cornwall’s only active producer of slate.
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