Well, I admit it, I got a bit obsessed. With a Hoffmann kiln out of all things. For those of you not familiar with it, it’s a special kind of kiln (a type of “oven” that produces very high temperatures) that was used for the production of bricks or, in this case, for lime-burning. It’s basically THE super kiln (and invented by a German; hey, we are known for being efficient).
It had all started with several visits to the Minera Limeworks, not far from where I live, where several other kilns can still be seen. When I did a bit of research and read about it, I came across the Hoffmann kiln, its history and the fact that there are only a few left in the British Isles. I still have no idea where the remains in Minera are (I probably just went right past them) but I wanted to see one and so visited the Llnymynech Heritage Area near Oswestry one day, where they have a marvellous example. And what a splendid day it turned out to be.
Llanymynech is literally on the border between Powys, Wales and Shropshire, England with the border running along its main street and even right trough a now closed pub. The car park of the heritage site is quite easy to miss, I had to discover, but I met some very helpful people who could even provide me with a leaflet of the site.
Now, I am not a very big fan of mining though if you live here in North Wales you can’t miss it (and if they name a pub “The Lime Kiln” it tells you a lot about the area), but this heritage site is really interesting and very well made. I found my Hoffmann kiln (well, it’s hard to miss as it is quite big) and could even step inside.
And all the other processes from the quarries to the transport of the final product were explained in an easy to understand and visual way. If you walk up the quite steep path to the quarries – there are two, an English and Welsh quarry side by side, linked by a now blocked tunnel – you get some beautiful views into Shropshire as well. And in my case heavy rain, but never mind.
I can only say, I was positively surprised by this hidden gem, so if you’re ever in the area visit the Llanymynech Heritage Site, it is a bit educational but you get some beautiful walks too.