Nantlle Valley
The Nantlle Valley is an area in Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

, north Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, characterised by its large number of small settlements.

Around 80% of the population of the Nantlle Valley speak Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 as their first language. Some of the communities came into being as a result of slate quarrying
Slate industry in Wales
The slate industry in Wales began during the Roman period when slate was used to roof the fort at Segontium, now Caernarfon. The slate industry grew slowly until the early 18th century, then expanded rapidly until the late 19th century, at which time the most important slate producing areas were in...

 in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. There were a number of quarries in the valley, the largest being the Dorothea and Pen yr Orsedd quarries. Although the major quarries are worked out, there remains demand for slate waste for garden decoration. The horse-drawn Nantlle Railway
Nantlle Railway
The Nantlle Railway was a Welsh narrow gauge railway built to carry slate from several slate quarries in the Nantlle Valley to the harbour at Caernarfon for export by sea. The line received its Act of Parliament in 1825 and was constructed by Robert Stephenson, brother of George Stephenson. It...

 served the quarries from 1865 to 1963.

In 1991 Antur Nantlle Cyf was established as a community enterprise to work for the benefit of the Nantlle Valley and its surrounding area. The valley was also where Josie Russell and her father lived after the Russell murder case
Michael Stone (Russell murder case)
Michael Stone is a British criminal who was convicted of a notorious double-murder in 1998. He has continued to assert his innocence. His original conviction was overturned on appeal but a second trial resulted in another verdict of guilty after another prisoner claimed that Stone had confessed to...

Dorothea Quarry

Since quarrying ended in 1970, the Dorothea Quarry has flooded and become a popular site for scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 (even though there are no facilities provided, and diving is officially banned in the quarry); in places the quarry is over 100 metres deep with a network of flooded tunnels, and the unregulated nature and depth of the site has encouraged some divers to overestimate their capabilities – in the decade 1994-2004 21 divers lost their lives in the quarry.


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