Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle Slate Festival

Date 19/07/2017

Students at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, Penygroes will be holding a slate festival before the end of the summer term to celebrate the valley’s quarrying heritage and to contribute towards raising awareness about the bid to gain UNESCO World Heritage Site Status for the industry.

During the last few weeks of term, the youngest students of the school have been studying the impact of the slate industry on the valley and the local communities. They have also visited the Slate Museum at Llanberis and Penrhyn Castle at Llandygai and have taken part in drama, music and poetry workshops to learn more and celebrate the slate industry’s history in Dyffryn Nantlle.

Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle’s slate festival will include displays, performances, a cuppa and more all afternoon and evening. The event will be the highlight of the work carried out by the school’s youngest students in a range of subjects.

Two englynion (strict meter poems) about the valley and the quarrying industry were written by a small group of students and a slate plaque featuring these poems will be unveiled during the festival, thanks to the sponsorship from Inigo Jones business in Groeslon.

Alwen Watkin, head teacher of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, is certain that the students have benefited greatly from organising the festival and learning about their heritage.

She said: “We are very proud as a school to be part of this project. It’s critical that young people are aware of their local history and heritage.

“Every department in the school has planned a series of lessons on the slate theme and the students have had the opportunity to work with the poets Karen Owen and Ifor ap Glyn; the actor Llion Williams and staff from the Music Department from Bangor University. We look forward to welcoming the public to the exhibition held in the school hall on 20 July.”

The festival will be opened by Councillor Craig ab Iago, the local member for Llanllyfni, who is also a Cabinet Member for Housing, Leisure and Culture at Gwynedd Council.

This nomination for World Heritage Site Status for the slate producing areas of Wales would be an opportunity to promote, celebrate and protect unique industrial heritage of the Welsh slate valleys. It’s an important nomination which acknowledges and celebrates the influence of Welsh slate on communities, landscapes, Gwynedd’s culture and its important contribution to the world.

Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for economic development, said: “The bid to gain UNESCO World Heritage Site Status for the quarry area is very important. Success would bring well deserved international status to the area and in turn visitors and investments.

“I would encourage local people to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the area and its history by attending the Slate Festival.”

The Slate Festival is held in Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle’s hall, Penygroes 3:30-7:30pm, Thursday, 20 July 2017.