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Is Welsh Slate The Best? We Go Behind The Scenes

August 27, 2021
Beautiful North Wales Slate Landscape which is a World Heritage Site

Here at Valley Mill we’ve been going behind the scenes of the Welsh slate business. One of the biggest questions we get asked is, is Welsh slate the best? Let’s find out!

It’s actually a well known fact within the business that Welsh slate is one of the finest quality slate in the world. Did you know that Welsh slate was quarried from North Wales from as early as the 12th century? It’s actually the toughest slate known to man. It has very few impurities and a beautiful colour and grain structure. Wesh slate doesn’t fade in the sun.

The slate itself is approximately 500 million years old and is made by the compression of clay over time. This is thanks to the movement of the tectonic plates – which helped form the Welsh Mountains.

The high quality of the slate is the result of a combination of apsect. From the quality of the clay and the precise amount of pressure & heat.

Meet A Welsh Quarryman

We met with Andrew Jonjo who has been a quarryman for 37 years. Not only is he a quarryman, but he is actually the sixth generation in the Welsh slate business.

Slate has been his, and his families life for 6 generations. ‘Jonjo’ who now works at the Welsh National Slate Museum shows us real slate cutting techniques. He also talks about why he believes Welsh slate is the best.

Valley Mill’s Welsh Slate

At Valley Mill, we only use Welsh Blue Grey Slate, although it is in fact a dark grey in appearance. The slate that we use here in our workshop in South Wales is mined at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

It is then whisked over to our Llansamlet workshop where it is hand cut, engraved and oiled.

It is then ready to be sent to directly to your home, our Valley Mill stores & to one of over 100 stores that we supply around the UK.

Pictured below is our slate cutter Josh who shows us one of the traditional ways to cut slate.

Pictured here is Mike, who is one of our slate cutters here at Valley Mill. This image shows Mike oiling and finishing our slate heart coasters.

World Heritage Status

In July 2021 UNESCO announced that the slate landscape of North Wales had won World Heritage Status. This now puts us alongside places such as the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.

This image shows why our beautiful landscape now has World Heritage Status. Isn’t it just stunning?

The incredbile view of Dinorwig Quarry which now has World Heritage Status
The Dinorwig Quarry Copyright: RCAHMW

The landscape has become the UK’s 32nd UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the 4th in Wales,. This follows the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Blaenavon Industrial Landscape and the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.

The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales became the world leader for the production and export of slate in the 1800’s.

Slate quarried in the area has been used to build parts of the Roman fort in Segontium in Caernarfon and Edward I’s castle in Conwy. However it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that demand surged as cities across the world expanded with slate from the mines at Gwynedd being widely used to roof workers’ homes, public buildings, places of worship and factories. 

Welsh Slate Industry

By the 1890s the Welsh slate industry employed approximately 17,000 workers. It produced almost 500,000 tonnes of slate a year, around a third of all roofing slate used in the world in the late 19th century.

The industry had a huge impact on global architecture. Welsh slate has been used on a number of buildings, terraces and palaces across the globe. This includes Westminster Hall in London’s Houses of Parliament, the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Australia and Copenhagen City Hall, Denmark.

In 1830, half the buildings in New York had roofs made of Welsh slate. Centuries of mining in the area transformed the landscape on a monumental scale. This reflects the important role this region played in ‘roofing the 19th century world’.

National Slate Museum

If your idea of a museum is based on glass cases and dusty exhibits, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you visit the National Slate Museum Llanberis

This museum-with-a-difference is based in the original Victorian Engineering Workshops at Dinorwig Slate Quarry. The quarry was in its heyday in the 1870’s and closed in 1969.  The site was opened as a Museum in 1972 – and was the world’s only national slate museum. The National Museum Wales – attracts over 140,000 visitors a year!

We met with Lowri Ifor who told us more about the museum and the amazing World Heritage Status.

All the staff at the museum are Welsh speaking so, it’s a great place to practice your Welsh.

What Is Slate?

Slate is essentially mud that has first been compressed and compacted, and then squeezed and heated by the Earth’s forces.

The main components of slate are the minerals sericite mica, quartz, chlorite, haematite and rutile.  Tiny variations in the proportion of some of these minerals can lead to a rainbow of variations in the colours of the slates themselves. From different shades of green through grey and blue to a deep, rich red.

Slate Names

Nine layers of slate run through Elidir mountain and the different slates bear such lovely names.

Green & wrinkled



Old quarry blue

New quarry blue grey

New quarry blue grey mottled

Sage green

Willow green


Purple red

Pictured below is our blue grey Welsh slate wine rack. As you can see the appearance is more dark grey in appearance.

Blue grey Welsh slate wine rack with two bottles of wine glistening in the sunshine

How Is Slate Formed?

Dinorwig Quarry slates originated as mud deposited in the sea during the Cambrian era of the Lower Paleozoic Era. This was about 500 million years ago!

At this time much of Wales was the floor of a very large sea or lake, covered by layers thousands of feet thick made up of mud and silt deposited by rivers. 

Slowly this mud was turned to clay and was squeezed and compacted until they all faced the same direction. This is what has caused the rock to become splittable slate.  

Spectacular changes in the geological history of Wales followed:  land movements brought the sea bed upwards to become dry land, which was then squeezed and shaped by lateral forces as a result of volcanic activity.

Did You Know?

  • Welsh slate slab switchboards were used in the Engine rooms of Cunard Ships Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.                                                                                                                                         
  • Welsh Slate Quarries inspired the construction of some of the earliest railways in Wales e.g Penrhyn Tramway (1801)                                                                                                                                      
  • Narrow gauge Steam locomotives were first used on a line built specifically to carry Welsh Slate. E.g the Ffestiniog Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog.                                                                                                           
  • Slate Quarrying resulted in immense wealth – evidence can still be seen at Penrhyn Castle or at Y Faenol estate, Gwynedd.                                                                                                                                       
  • Prince Charles investiture at Caernarfon took place on a ‘dais’ made of Welsh Slate.                                                         
  • The world’s best snooker tables are made from Welsh Slate.                                                                                               
  • Llechwedd Slate Quarry saw the first commercial generation of electricity in north Wales at the beginning of the century.                                                                                                                                      
  • The North Wales Quarrymen’s Union, established in 1874, was one of the earliest working class unions in the United Kingdom.                                                                                                                            
  • The Penrhyn Strike, from November 1900 to November 1903 is one of the longest ever United Kingdom Industrial Disputes.                                                                                                                               
  • King Edward 1st’s architects used Welsh Slate as part of the construction of his chain of castles around Gwynedd.

What Is Welsh Slate Used For?

Due to the unique qualities of Welsh slate, it has become the best and only choice for many homeware products. This include placemats, coasters, cheese boards, wine racks, clocks, house signs and many others. Indeed, slate home and tableware has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

Interior designers, hotels & restaurants and of course, the everyday consumer want something a little bit more stylish and eco-friendly.

Welsh slate cheeseboard adorned with a stunnning selection of cheeses

Is Welsh Slate The Best?

Let’s take another quick look at the reasons why WE believe Welsh slate really is the best.

Why Choose Welsh Slate?

There are so many benefits of buying products made from locally mined Welsh slate.  We take a look at why.

Why Is Welsh Slate Better?

Roofing companies all over the world recommend genuine Welsh slate as the best slate.  The strength and lasting quality of Welsh slate make it one of (if not the best) slate in the world.

Welsh slate serving tray with chicken and pepper kebabs placed on top

Is Welsh Slate More Expensive?

The answer is yes it is, but there are many reasons for this.  The benefits of Welsh slate really surpass its cousins.  There are not only fewer impurities in 100% Welsh slate but, it also needs less maintenance.

Welsh slate has less fade and is stronger than other slates.  

This means that it lasts so much longer and there’s no need to continually repair and replace like many other products. So our natural slate products should cost you less in the long run.

Is Slate Environmentally Friendly?

Slate has a low carbon footprint due to the manufacturing and working processes. It’s a ‘green’ material due to its endurance so will last for longer than many other materials. 

We source our slate from Blanenau Ffestiniog which means delivery is much more eco-friendly than slates that have been imported from outside the UK. E.G. China and Spain.  Supporting us also means you are supporting the local economy.

Welsh slate heart hanging on a wall with hemp rope.

Imported Slate

As with any product, there are alternatives to Welsh Slate when it comes to homeware products.

At the lower end of the quality spectrum, Chinese slate is very hard and brittle. Even worse, it is full of unsightly impurities. This means any products made from Chinese slate will be sold pretty cheaply because of the low quality. It will be pretty obvious what you are going to get for your money. It’s not a bad option however, if quality is no real concern and you have a tight budget.

Spanish Slate Vs Welsh Slate

The other most widespread slate currently being used for homeware products is Spanish Slate. Indeed, it is very nice to look at in comparison to the Chinese Slate as it has very few impurities. It is also very flat and you can easily cut quite complex shapes from it.

It’s important to remember the reason Spanish slate cuts so well is that it is a very soft slate. This means Spanish slate is not as hardwearing as Welsh slate.

When cut, Spanish Slate leaves you with a very evenly dressed edge, which looks almost machine-cut in quality. It is also cheaper than Welsh slate and much more readily available.

Remember Welsh slate lasts longer and there’s no need to continually repair and replace like many other products. So our natural slate products should cost you less in the long run.

The Truth About Scottish Slate

Did you know that Spanish Slate is very often being passed off and sold as Scottish slate?

There are several Scottish companies that use Spanish slate to manufacture their homeware products. Their homeware products will say ‘Made in Scotland’, so we all assume that it is actually Scottish slate.

However, the last Scottish slate quarry closed in the 1950s!

The only Scottish slate still available is reclaimed slate from the old mines and quarries.

With this in mind, if you see the phrase ‘Made in Scotland’ attached to slate homeware, it is highly unlikely that it is actually Scottish slate – that is unless it has come from someone’s old roof!!

Don’t Just Take It From Us

You may think that we are biased when it comes to our slate (we TOTALLY are). However, this is the reason why we visited the experts so you could hear it from them. In fact, you are always leaving us lovely reviews when it comes to our slate. Take a look at just a few mentions.

Welsh slate review which compliments Valley Mills slate items
Welsh slate review which compliments Valley Mills slate items
Welsh slate review which compliments Valley Mills slate items

Our Slate Products

So, now we’ve whet your appetite for a Welsh slate item for your home. Let’s take a look at some of our best selling products.

Mood Maker

Set the mood for the evening for a catch up with friends and family with Valley Mill’s ranges of candles and candle holders. Not only do they look fantastic but our huge variety of scents will really set the mood too.

Welsh slate tealight holder which holds 5 tealights

Daily Reminders

Do you have a busy life? Our Welsh slate chalkboard family planner is perfect for busy homes and workplaces.

Whether it’s meal planning, tasks, a weekly planner for all of the children’s activities, a family planner or just a list of all the fun stuff you’ve got coming up. We handcraft each board from the highest quality Welsh slate.

A Gift For Your Garden

Welcome your guests with a Valley Mill Welsh slate hanging sign. We have ready made designs or you can personalise them with your very own design.

Make It Personal

If it’s a personal touch you’re looking for then look no further than our amazing personalised Welsh slate serving trays.

Why not serve up some treats on our Welsh slate trays ? These can be personalised to your design right here in our workshop.

Pictured below is Mike one of our slate cutters showing one of the many ways we cut and prep our slate.

Current Events Pet Memorial Plaques Slate products Valley Mill

Pet Loss Grief & Paying Tribute

July 8, 2021
Pet Memorial Plaques for outside

The relationship between a family and their pet is strong and impenetrable.  A pet for many of us is a family member.  The grief of a loss of a pet can be similar to losing a family member or close friend and in some cases more.

We are taking a look at pet loss grief, ways to cope and how you’ve paid tribute to your pet.

Do you feel that pet loss grief is almost a ‘taboo’ subject and that people try to brush it under the carpet? Some employers now offer pet bereavement leave. One of FORTUNE’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ have named Kimpton Hotel & Restaurants in their list time and time again. They offer their employees a whole range of benefits including a 3 day pet bereavement leave.

Losing A Pet

We’ve been asking people how they have coped with the grief process not just for themselves but with other family members too. 

Sian who works at Valley Mill lost her cross Pug/Jack Russell just over 18 months ago.  “It was a huge loss to the family.  Oscar was just weeks away from his 17th birthday when his time came and went to the big playground in the sky.  Even to this day myself and my two boys still shed a tear.  The way we pay tribute to him and to help us with the grief is by remembering him.  We have his ashes in a box on our living room shelf with paintings of him and photos around it.  I even have Oscar’s name tattooed on my back.”

Siany’s dog Oscar loved the beach

“The boys and I talk about him and remember all of the funny and wonderful things we all did together.  As time passes the tears become less and the laughs of all the amazing times become greater.  We will always miss him but remembering him is our way of coping.”

Sian’s Memorial to Oscar

How Have You Coped?

We wanted to know how you have managed to deal with the loss of a pet.  You’ve been getting in touch with your stories.

Garath wrote to us and told us about their family dog.  “We have Spike’s ashes in a beautiful box on a shelf surrounded by memories of him. Spike was big brother to our two girls. We adopted him when he was 3. He’d been beaten and trained to fight, but was a gentle soul who was just afraid of what humans had done to him. He would wet himself when you clenched your fist near him or raise your voice when we first had him.  He was a 24kg Staffy.”

“Over the years we had some great times, from throwing a twig in Singleton Park and him bringing back half a bench, to him walking with half a breeze block in his mouth everywhere we went on foot (it seemed to make him feel safe).  Then there was the time he peed on a woman’s leg outside Verdi’s. The best one was when we thought he’d been stolen when we tied him up outside the Woodman; only to discover that he’d actually dragged the table across the beer garden to say hello to a pretty lady poodle!  Writing this has brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy and of loss. The girls lost a brother who always looked out for them, and Em and I lost our first “child” and one of our best friends.”

Emma and Gareths dog Spike
Pictured is Garath & Emma’s dog Spike.

Photograph Engraving Tribute

Chloe who works at Valley Mill shared with us her Welsh slate photograph engraved tributes to her family dogs. Above is Gus AKA Sir Buckingham.

Sadly last month Chloe and her family lost their beautiful Jazz. As you can see in both of these pictures both Gus and Jazz were not only loved, but clearly exuberated love to all around them.

Paying Tribute

Sarah shared with us a wonderful way of paying tribute to your pet.  “I saw someone leave a bucket of tennis balls at the beach in memory of their lost pooch, asking dog owners to help themselves. I thought that was so lovely”.

Leanne got in touch and said “I still cry over mine now and I lost him 7 years ago. I have a tribute to him in the form of a tattoo and I have his ashes in my living room. They have pride of place with a glass picture of him too”.

“Sadly, the sadness never ever goes away but the memories I have of him will last forever. I also have a wall of fame where I put up all his pictures and a canvas my sister had made for me”.

A wall of rememberance for Dante the dog
Leanne’s wall of fame as a tribute to her dog Dante

“Having him all around me makes it feel like he is still here. I also kept his favourite teddy and toy his food bowl and his blanket with his name on. Some times I take them out & cuddle them, then have a good cry because he wasn’t just my dog he was my best friend”.

Pet loss tribute to Dante
Leanne’s dog Dante with pride of place in her home. A loving tribute to her furry friend.

Elise Sewell said “My little Yorkie Brutus was obsessed with corks especially champagne corks so when he passed away we used to put all our corks around a tree in the garden as a reminder of him”.

Pet Bereavement & Dealing with Your Grief

There are many places that you can visit online that give you expert advice on how to deal with your grief and also family members too.

Blue Cross offer a Pet Bereavement Supprt Service (PBSS) which is contactable by phone, email or webchat. Their service is free and confidential.

You can call their fully trained specialist team on 0800 096 6606 between 8:30am – 8.30pm.

Coping & Remembering

Jules told us about her beautiful Marnie about how she ‘coped’ with her passing in March.  “I don’t use the word cope if I’m honest, only because I don’t want to deal with the loss effectively or successfully, as the word ‘cope’ would suggest. I know it’s appropriate to feel such loss as she was a huge part of my life.  The feelings are almost a given and why wouldn’t I feel such pain? It brings to the forefront everything she gave.  Love on another level, a constant tap flowing with affection, loyalty, the softest touch, kindness, my secret keeper, my everything”.

Marnie the dog
Jules Dickersons beautiful girl Marnie

Jules continued “In some ways embracing my grief rather than stifling it was testament to all the above. I see it as a huge mark of respect to her, if I didn’t feel it and just ignored it. It’s almost discounting all she gave. Feeling grief is what happens when you lose something or someone you love so much. I always thought Marnie was so co-dependent on me, and of course she was to a certain degree; what I didn’t know until faced with life without her was the co-dependency I had for her.”

“Marnie was a constant in my life, always there, ever knowing, my one true confidant. She was the reason I got up and got out in difficult times.  She’d sense when my mood was low or upset and she’d just look at me.  How she could tell me in a look all that I needed to know at that time was truly spiritual for want of a better word. Telling me … ‘I’ve got you‘ & ‘you’re so loved’.”

Showing Tribute

To show tribute Marnie, Jules explained what her family do.  “We have her with us.  She’s still in her corner where she’d lie in an engraved box with her name and the sentiment ‘Our gorgeous girl, forever in our hearts’.  I talk to her; I have a picture in every room of her because wherever I’d go she’d be behind me.  My grandson collects white Angel Dog Feathers that he believes to be Marnie watching over him; he has 28!”

So, should there be more understanding that pet bereavement should be talked about more and not pushed under the carpet? 

Jules agrees and said that she tells her grandson that “it’s ok to cry. I talk to him about Marnie, reminding us all of what Marnie gave to us rather than focusing on the loss. Reminding myself she lived, not that she died. We are much richer because of her”.

Pet Loss Grief

It’s not just us who grieve for the loss of a pet. Your other pets will have lost a companion and their grief can manisfest in many ways. This could be through loss of appetite or over grooming.

Blue Cross have details on how you can help a grieving cat or grieving dog.

Pet Cemeteries

There are many ways to say goodbye to your furry friends. Pet cemeteries across the UK offer a wide range of services from formal pet burial, green pet burials, cremation or ashes burials. To find one near you just Google ‘Pet Cemetery Near Me’.

“Can I Bury My Pet In The Garden”?

If you are considering a home burial for your pet then you must take your local laws in to consideration.  In the UK, it isn’t legal to bury your pets in the garden of rented accommodation, a friend’s garden, public places.  Basically anywhere you don’t own.

It IS legal to bury pets in a garden that you DO own.

However, please check with your vet that their remains aren’t hazardous to health and also choose a place well away from water sources.

You can read full details of home pet burials here.

Valley Mill Pet Memorial Plaques

Here at Valley Mill we have created a range of Welsh slate memorial plaques for pets. The team understand that paying tribute to your pet is not only important but individual to each person.

Here are a couple of examples. You can view the full range here.

Valley Mill Pet Memorials
Valley Mill Pet Memorials

How Long Will I Suffer Pet Loss Grief?

Honestly, this is a question we cannot answer. This is why we’ve asked people to share their stories with us in hope that their personal experiences will help you.

Nikki shared her story of her ‘fur baby’ Murphy.  “I still have Murphy’s collar hanging on the cupboard door in my office….and it’s been 4 years.  All his photos brighten up my office. My daughter Georgie and I talk about our chocolate bear all the time. We will never have another chocolate lab, and when I knew his days were coming to an end we brought in a puppy of a different breed, not to replace Murphy before he left us, but to ease the pain when he went over the rainbow bridge”.

Pictured is Murphy the beautiful chocolate lab in rememberance and help for pet loss grief
Nikki’s beautiful chocolate lab Murphy

“The evening after I had to put him to sleep I put on my wellies, took out my then 8month old pup and walked Murphy’s favourite walk, face up to the rain to help wash away my tears. I knew Murphy wouldn’t want me to be without a doggie best pal. And I still talk to him now. I tell him about all the naughty stuff this dog does which he would never have done. The pain eases, but the memory is there to treasure”.

Don’t Suffer Pet Loss Grief Alone

Don’t forget that Blue Cross offer a Pet Bereavement Supprt Service (PBSS) which is contactable by phone, email or webchat. Their service is free and confidential.

Barry Begley got in touch and told us about Willow. “My willow passed over the bridge aged 21 and half.  Had her since she was 6 months old. Born on a farm but she was mistreated. She was rescued by a family but sadly the children didn’t bond with her. My sister bought her for a tenner and gave her to me. She was a true loyal friend and companion from that day. Saw through all good and bad times together. I still miss her like crazy, and cry everytime I think about her and sometimes out the corner of my eye feel her watching me. I know that when my day finally comes we’ll be reunited.”

Barry shared this image of Willow for our article on pet loss grief
Barry’s lovely dog Willow

More Pet Tributes – Working Through Pet Loss Grief

Maria shared with us her tattoo tribute to her dog Monty.

A wonderful tattoo tribute to Monty the dog
This ‘Monty’ Tattoo is a beautiful tribute

Sharon Latchford got in touch and told us “I found my darling Seraphina dead in her field 10 years ago last month, (crying as I type). A lot of people just don’t get how the loss of an animal can be so heartbreaking”.

Sharon with her beautiful horse Seraphina Pet Loss Grief
Sharon with her beautiful Seraphina

Shannon sadly only had her cat Hazel for a short space of time. “My neighbour gifted me my beautiful Hazel for my birthday. She was incredible. Sadly 5 months in to our time together she was knocked down on the road and died. We have kept her close and buried her in our back garden”.

Shannon’s girl Hazel

If you would like to share your stories of pet loss grief and the way you’ve paid tribute to your furry friends then please get in touch with Sian at Valley Mill.

Current Events Gifts Home Our Suppliers Skincare Slate products Valley Mill

Protect Our Planet

June 13, 2021

We believe we all have a part to play in reducing the impact on our environment and need to protect our planet. We want to make you aware of not only ways you can make a change but also what Valley Mill are doing to help too.

Environmental Awareness Days in June

There are many environmental awareness days throughout June. The 5th of June was World Environment Day, May 29 – June 13 in the UK is The Great British Spring Clean, June 16th is World Refill Day and June 17th is National Clean Air Day.

All of Battle Green’s handmade cosmetics are PETA certified vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, and lab safety tested. Many of Battle Green’s products are reusable and refillable, allowing you to save money and reduce waste over time.

Our Products & Suppliers

Up until early 2020 we only sold products that were made in Wales and in turn, mainly supporting small local businesses.  Since then, we have branched out to UK made and UK designed and are only working with businesses who have the same ethos and beliefs as ourselves.  Whilst the majority of our products are made in Wales, some of our suppliers products are mainly handmade in the UK or designed in the UK with materials sourced sustainably from outside of the UK.

Our Welsh slate travels only 130 miles from Snowdonia. 

Carbon Footprint

Our Welsh slate travels only 130 miles from Snowdonia.    At Valley Mill it’s not only our products that we want to be eco-friendly, but our staff too.  To strive for sustainable living, we offer our team a car share scheme with a monetary bonus to reduce the amount of cars used to travel to work.  We also encourage working from home whenever possible.  This May we are proud to be starting a cycle to work scheme.  Want to find out more about educating yourselves and others? Take a look at the United Nations goals to help transform our world and protect our planet.

Keeping It Local

Unlike many companies, Valley Mill pride themselves on using only Welsh slate. We never import our slate from abroad.

Valley Mill’s Beliefs to Protect Our Planet

When Valley Mill started in 2007, Kevin Thomas wanted the company to be eco-friendly and materials to be sourced locally providing a low carbon footprint.  From day 1 Kevin knew that not only do the products need to be natural but also packaging must be recyclable.  

Apart from the fragrance in the candles, all materials that we use for our products are 100% natural.

Valley Mill’s natural soy wax candles come in either a re-usable heavy weight tumbler OR reusable tin.
Handmade in Wales using the finest quality soy wax, for a longer burn time and better scent throw. The wooden wick that works perfectly with the soy wax helps to further increase the burn time and to ensure a full surface area melt pool, to get the best possible scent when burning your candle.

Soy wax is important as not only is it a natural, renewable and biodegrable source, it also burns with zero petro soot.

It’s not just our own amazing products that are made from natural raw materials, but all of the new products we source are environmentally-friendly and mainly locally made in the UK.  Some of our suppliers use materials sustainably sourced from outside of the UK.


We have never used plastic in our products packaging and we use mainly recycled cardboard. In 2020 we also banned plastic bags from our stores.  

The harmful effects of plastic is now seen worldwide. Plastic is in our air, our water and our food. Each one of us have a responsibility in reducing plastic pollution.

Reusable Tweedmill Tote Bags

A stylish tote bag, perfect for everyday, these come in a variety of colours and designs. Perfect companion when shopping. Handmade for Valley Mill by Tweedmill in Denbigh, North Wales.

World Refill Day – June 16th

Since Valley Mill was founded in 2007, we have always strived to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. We’re always looking for new alternatives to non-recyclable packaging and products. One of the worst single-use plastics for our environment is plastic water bottles. So we wanted to create and encourage an alternative solution; one that is simple and cost-effective for our customers, whilst making a positive impact on our environment.

These refillable stainless steel water bottles are very durable and last longer than glass and reusable plastic options. They will help you save money long-term, whilst also helping you to do your bit for the planet. Their leak-proof screw top caps make them incredibly practical whilst on the go. Plus, their double-wall insulation keeps your favourite refreshment at the perfect temperature for longer. They are BPA and phthalate-free, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals being released into your drink.

White stainless thermo bottle isolated on green grThese refillable stainless steel water bottles are very durable and last longer than glass and reusable plastic options.

Valley Mill’s refillable stainless steel water bottles are very durable and last longer than glass and reusable plastic options.

They will help you save money long-term, whilst also helping you to do your bit for the planet. Their leak-proof screw top caps make them incredibly practical whilst on the go. Plus, their double-wall insulation keeps your favourite refreshment at the perfect temperature for longer. They are BPA and phthalate-free, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals being released into your drink.

Cutting Down on Single-Use Plastic 

Our products reflect our beliefs.  From our water bottles to our hip flasks, we want to create and encourage an alternative solution to single use plastic.  One that is simple and cost-effective for our customers, whilst making a positive impact on our environment. 

Throw Away Culture 

How much plastic have you thrown away this week and how much of it was recyclable?  It’s hard not to get overwhelmed by it all, however there are always solutions.  It takes time and planning but once this change has been made it can be more beneficial on the environment but also your pocket too!  

Refill Stations 

More and more companies across the globe are consistently finding new and innovative ways of reducing humanity’s footprint on our planet.  

Cheers Wine Merchants in Mumbles, Swansea and The Gower Gin Company are two companies that are ahead of their game.   

The companies teamed up together to bring an environmentally conscious way of shopping for alcohol.  

Save On Waste 

Director of Cheers Wine Merchants Dafydd Morris explains why we should all save on waste.  “We introduced the Gin refill station at our Mumbles store as it gave customers a great opportunity to both save money and reuse their Gŵyr Gin bottles which in turn helps save on waste.” 

“It has proved amazingly popular and we have many customers now reusing their bottles time and time again.  We are very proud to be the first shop in Wales to offer this service and I hope it spreads across the UK.” 

Natural Beauty for the Planet

Our own beauty products and our suppliers are just full of natural goodness. They’re cruelty free too! Let’s take a look at what you can get from Valley Mill.

Natural aromatherapy from Alura Romatics Sleep Pulse Point Roll on with lavender
Alura Romatics Sleep Pulse Point Roll On

We are all striving for sustainable living and Alura Romatics are no different.  Part of Valley Mill’s ethos and brand is just this, so it made absolute sense to work together with Alura Romatics.   

About Alura Romatics

Stacey, the owner and creator of Alura Romatics, began her love of aromatherapy and essential oils through her mum and her mums trusted Aromatherapy Guide by Christine Westwood.  She believed that whatever she was going through in life, there was an essential oil for it.  Stacey knew she needed to learn more about these magical oils and became a qualified aromatherapist.  Knowing that not all products out there are the same, Stacey decided that creating the perfect product was key. She knew that everyone deserves the best for their health and happiness, thus Alura Romatics was born. 

Aromatherapy Happy Room Spray from Alura Romatics
Alura Romatics Happy Room Spray

Alongside her small and dedicated team they handmake all of their products and ensure they keep their blends natural and synthetic-free and are committed to making sure as many of their ingredients come from natural sources, where possible.  Alura Romatics products use 100% natural fragrances, they contain no harsh chemicals, are vegan and cruelty free and handmade in Cardiff. 

Battle Green

Battle Greens lip balms are not only PETA certified vegan friendly and cruelty-free but also packed full of the most beautiful products to keep your lips soft, moisturised and protected.  The balms are also packed with quality natural ingredients, and free from synthetic colours and fragrances.  

Battle Green was established in 2018. Like many people, they were feeling increasingly concerned by the stream of reports on the negative environmental impact humans are having on the planet. It’s hard to believe there are more micro plastics in the oceans than stars in the Milky Way, or that around 100 million marine mammals die from plastic pollution each year.

So, this is why the team knew they needed to create products to help protect the planet.

They are based in beautiful Snowdonia, North Wales.

Battle Green
Battle Greens natural unisex deodorants are formulated to not only absorb sweat and neutralise nasty niffs but also to gently fragrance and soften underarm skin.  The essential oils in these balms were not only chosen for their beautiful scents, but also for their amazing beneficial properties.  Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and natural holistic treatment.  These are compounds extracted from plants and each unique aroma gives it its characteristic essence.


When searching for new companies to work with, it’s important to us at Valley Mill to find people with similar values to our own. We love to work with like-minded small businesses; that have their own unique story, care about the products that they make and the effect they have on you as a customer, as well as the environment. And BrambleWood Soap Co., the company behind our new skincare range, is exactly that kind of small business!

Handmade in Dorset, award-winning BrambleWood Soap Co uses a thoughtful combination of salts, dried botanicals and essential oils to create their Botanical Bloom bath tea that can aid in relieving muscular aches and pains and relaxation.

BrambleWood Soap Co. was founded in 2019 by Laura Cullen. Laura began her company as she wanted to create natural soap and skincare suitable for the whole family. All of her products are handmade in small batches in Dorset. They are 100% natural and are free from chemicals and additives. All of the natural and botanical ingredients have been chosen for their superior smell, aromatherapy qualities, and skin-nourishing properties. Everything Laura has created is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and is as kind to the environment as it is on your budget. They are completely plastic-free and all of the packaging chosen is recyclable or reusable.

About BrambleWood Soap’s Range

These bath bombs’ signature recipe includes moisturising cocoa butter to soothe your skin and essential oils for luxurious natural fragrances. They are wrapped in fully biodegradable glassine bags and recycled paper, meaning there is no plastic waste.

These bath bombs’ signature recipe includes moisturising cocoa butter to soothe your skin and essential oils for luxurious natural fragrances. They are wrapped in fully biodegradable glassine bags and recycled paper, meaning there is no plastic waste.

Valley Mill Soaps

Valley Mill handmade 100% natural soaps which are also cruelty free

Valley Mill natural soaps do not contain artificial colours, preservatives or additives and are free of parabens and SLS; they are just full of natural goodness. They’re cruelty free too!

Valley Mill handmade 100% natural soaps which are also cruelty free

The combination of bergamot and basil has created a handmade soap which is refreshing and revitalising, without being harsh or abrasive. The fresh bergamot fragrance uplifts and energises, whilst the natural antibacterial properties of the basil work to refresh your skin.

Made by hand at our workshop in South Wales, this 100% natural bergamot & basil soap contains the following nourishing ingredients:

– Shea butter
– Sweet almond oil
– Coconut oil
– Mango butter
– Olive oil
– Castor oil
– Bergamot essential oil
– Basil essential oil
– Coffee powder
– Cinnamon powder

Recycling to Protect Our Planet

Whether you are a business, household or school, we can all do our bit to help. We can drive the change for better living.

If you aren’t sure or need more information of not only where you can recycle but also how we can all minimise the effect we are having on our environment.

A great organisation who can not only tell you where you can recycle but which materials too. They are Recycle More and you find out more details for your business, home or school here.

Recycled Wool

Blanket colours are completely random as they are made from recycled wool from the mill, hence why they are such a great price. No two blankets will be the same.

Therefore you cannot choose a specific colour, you will be sent a completely random colour blanket. All blankets are the same pattern design and the same high quality.

All of Valley Mill’s blankets are handmade for us by Tweedmill in Denbigh, North Wales. 100% British wool.

Valley Mill Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket

The random recycled picnic blankets are the budget-friendly option, made using recycled wool just like our best-selling random recycled throws. The use of recycled wool reduces waste, making them just kind to the environment but also to your bank account. But don’t worry, just because they are affordable doesn’t mean they are lacking in quality. Wool naturally repels water, so this combined with the hard-wearing waterproof backing will help keep it clean and dry for longer and last for many summers to come. Why not pair your new picnic rug with our personalised metal bottles to help you stay hydrated whilst away from home and help the environment?

More from Valley Mill

Often the perfect traditional keepsake to mark special occasions, or the ideal gift for those who enjoy long walks and campfires, our stainless-steel hip flasks have a classic design that can be personalised with your unique message. 

PLUS between now and Saturday 19th June 2021 17:00 we are offering 10% OFF personalised hip flasks online and instore in Union Street, Swansea. T&C’s apply.

ALSO Photograph Engraving too*.

This Photograph Engraving can come with a solid slate rear plinth which enables it to be free standing or you can choose to have it rope hung.

This June we are giving you the chance to win a fantastic Valley Mill gift pack worth over £100!

The ‘Picnic for Two’ pack consists of:

  • Valley Mill Picnic Blanket – luxury cotton quilted waterproof with carry strap (choose from star, palm leaf or triangle design)
  • Welsh Slate Small Rope Tray – hand cut with rope handles for a rustic finish
  • 2 x Personalised Water Bottles – choose from a variety of colours and personalised for you
  • Valley Mill Mixed Berries Candle – made from natural soy wax, wooden wick & comes with a Valley Mill Welsh Slate lid that doubles up as a coaster

Everyone who makes a purchase of £50 or more* ONLINE at AND subscribe to our newsletters will automatically be entered into the draw! T&C’s apply.


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Unleash Your Inner BBQ Master

May 30, 2021
Valley Mill BBQ Tips

In our last blog we wrote about the ‘Rise of the British BBQ’.  This is absolutely true.  Us Brits are banging out some amazing food and recipes in our BBQ get togethers. We are becoming Kings and Queens of the BBQ and we are here to help you unleash your inner BBQ master.

We are all thinking outside of the box when it comes to our recipes ideas. Let your creative side out. Why not host a vegetarian BBQ feast? Think of all the skewers you can create, from colourful vegetables to seasonal fruits. The options are endless.

Become the BBQ Queen or King of your home with some incredible recipes served on Valley Mill's fantastic Denby range
Fig Skewers with a honey & balsamic glaze topped with crushed roast pistachios served on one of our a Denby Studio Blue Chalk Ridged Bowl.

Planning for Success

We’ve teamed up with Oliver Woolnough and the team from Nothing But BBQ to guide you through the summer and show you how to upgrade your outdoor experience. We’ve got recipe ideas and creative ways to style up your ‘al fresco’ dining area.

BBQ Tips with Valley Mill and Olly Woolnough
Oliver Woolnough from Meat Matters Ltd & Nothing But BBQ serves up us his best BBQ and outdoor dining tips


One of our favourite BBQ cookery books which was released recently is Skewered by Marcus Bawdon.  Marcus is a bit of a hero of ours as he really knows his stuff.  Marcus not only runs Country Wood Smoke BBQ School from his home in Devon but also is the editor of UK BBQ Magazine and has a series of cookery books available.

Fundamentals of Cooking Outdoors

When cooking outdoors you need to know the fundamentals of cooking on a BBQ.  From the best fuel to use, smoking woods and how to set up your barbeque, Marcus explains all of this and also why a lid on your BBQ can really help.

Tanzanian Chicken Mishkaki

Oliver Woolnough shows us how to cook one of Marcus’ recipes from Skewered. This recipe is inspired by the flavours of India, The Middle East and Africa.


1 green & 1 red bell pepper

2 skinless chicken breasts

For the Marinade:

4 tbsp plain/natural yogurt

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

1 tsp runny honey

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Pinch of salt & pepper

2 tsp freshly chopped coriander

Chop your herbs with one of our hand forged stainless steel herb choppers.


Cut the peppers and chicken breasts into 3 x 3cm squares. Mix the marinade ingredients together and stir in the cubes of chicken. Leave to marinate for approximately 1 hour.

Set up your grill with medium to hot coals for close proximity cooking.

Thread 2 cubes of chicken onto each skewer. Now add a few squares of bell pepper. Continue until your skewers are loaded.

Place your skewers onto the grill and cook for a few minutes before turning. Make sure they are cooked thoroughly before serving. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes in total.

Sprinkle with extra coriander to serve.

Now you’ve unleashed your inner BBQ master.

Monkfish Skewers

Check out this video of how to create the BBQ Coconut Curry Monkfish recipe from Skewered.  This is a mix of coconut milk, curry powder and lime, finished with coriander and freshly chopped chillies.

Don’t Forget The Extras

Your BBQ party doesn’t just have to revolve around the food cooked on the grill. Give your guests a treat with some of their favourite cheeses. We have a wide range of Welsh Slate cheeseboards.

Make It Personal

If it’s a personal touch you’re looking for then look no further than our amazing personalised products. You may be celebrating a ‘BIG’ birthday or having a corporate event, why not serve up some treats on our Welsh slate trays which can be personalised to your design.

You Didn’t Miss It

Don’t worry! You didn’t miss the recipe for this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad from Genevieve Taylor.

Set The Mood

Set the mood for the evening for a catch up with friends and family with Valley Mill’s ranges of candles and candle holders. Not only do they look fantastic but our huge variety of scents will really set the mood too.

Valley Mill’s Welsh slate tealight holder with our range of tealights make a sophisticated impression

A Gift For Your Garden

Welcome your guests with a Valley Mill Welsh slate hanging sign. We have ready made designs or you can personalise them with your very own design.

Father’s Day is COMING SOON!

Here at Valley Mill we have a whole load of products for your Dad/Step-Dad/Grandad etc lined up just for you.

Check back soon at for the latest.