cwmbwergwm
Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire's Western Valley
Newbridge and Crumlin
From Newbridge to Kendon and Mynyddislwyn
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Western Valley

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Celynen North Colliery

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

Celynen North Colliery - ST 212972

Celynen North Colliery downcast shaft was sunk in 1913, followed by the upcast and the Graig Fawr house coal shafts in 1924. After an uneventful life Graig Fawr closed in 1961 and the rest of the colliery in 1989. Latterly it was connected underground to Oakdale Colliery. The site has been cleared and supports an industrial estate and some waste land.

A set of steps on the Eastern side of the A467 lead up through the woodland (ST 214977) where the frame of a 2'6" gauge wagon lies in the undergrowth. The frame is split just behind the axlebox, either as a result of its fall down the hillside or the cause of its being dumped. Further up the hillside above the wagon is a large 2 chamber water tank with a dire warning about trespassers from the NCB! This was the site of wooden cooling towers for the colliery, hot water being pumped up, condensed and piped back down. A tramway ran Southwest down to the colliery, presumably the route of the wagon.

Celynen North Colliery in the past


Other Collieries at Newbridge

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

Cwm Dows Colliery - ST 2007 9684

Cwm Dows Colliery was an old colliery working from around 1805 to the 1930s with a number of breaks in between. Around 1910-1915 it was owned by the Twyngwyn Colliery Co. and known as 'Twyn-gwyn No 2'. The colliery tramway connected to the Crumlin branch of Halls Road. A few walls and the culvert / airway can be found at the site.

Twyngwyn Colliery - ST 2018 9714

Twyngwyn Colliery was at the end of a tramway which ran from a tipping dock on Halls Road Kendon branch, through a tunnel under the GWR Taff Vale Extension Railway, to reach the colliery. The colliery is on the 1880 OS map, marked as an 'old level'. It re-opened from c1891 to c1916 as the Twyngwyn Coal Co and the Twyngwyn Colliery Co Ltd. The company also owned Cwm Dows Colliery, referring to it as 'Twyn-gwyn No 2'. There was also a 1950s level known as 'Woodland' in this area. A small filled-in airshaft and other signs of activity are up the valley.

Bush Colliery - ST 2061 9751 and ST 2065 9775

The first record of Bush Colliery seems to be a lease of 1865, auctioned in 1867. The main owners, amonst others, were the Bush Coal Co and the Newbridge Colliery Co. There were a number of levels in the area, linked by a tramway down to screens on Halls Road Kendon branch. After c1947 the 'new' level was worked by the Waites and Gerald Plant until closure in c1988. The 'new' level site is now an owl and bird sanctuary and is private.

Taff Vale Extenson Railway

The Taff Vale Extenson Railway skirted the outskirts of Newbridge on its way from Pontllanfraith to cross Crumlin Viaduct. It's not too easy to trace but Pennar Lane bridge and the trackbed can be walked quite easily. Again approaching Treowen a short stretch can be identified along with the footings of the Bush Colliery incline tunnel.

Pant Lane canal bridge - ST 2128 9677

Pant Lane canal bridge hides between Bridge Street and the A472. The bridge crossed the Southern end of Pant Lock, now lost under the bypass. This is probably the most Northerly relic of the Crumlin Arm of the Monmouthshire Canal.

Pennar Lane Pillbox - ST 2011 9665

A pillbox sits in the junction between Pennar Lane and Bryngwyn Road though I'm not at all sure what it was guarding.

Around Newbridge

Abercarn UDC Isolation Hospital at ST 2145 9755 opened sometime after 1901 and appears to have closed during WW2. Cefn-Rhos-y-Bedd Uchaf Farm sits above Pantside.


'Halls Road' to Pennar Tunnel

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

Pen-rhiw-bica Junction - ST 2103 9644

Pen-rhiw-bica was the junction for the Crumlin and Kendon branch of Halls Road, leaving the main line to loop around the valley to Cwm Dows. This is the end of the trackbed from Crosskeys as the Newbridge by-pass now interrupts the route.

'Halls Road' main line - ST 2032 9664

From the by-pass to the level crossing and down Tunnel Terrace to the tunnel portal


The Kendon Tramroad branch of 'Halls Road'

The Kendon Tramroad to Crumlin and Kendon Colliery left the main 'Halls Road' tramroad at Pen-rhiw-bica Junction to execute a u-turn around Cwmdows towards Treowen. Work on the line began after the main line was opened to the annoyance of Cwmdows Colliery's owners, who protested but had to wait until 1814 for transport. The tramroad eventually linked to Cwmdows, Twyngwyn and Bush Collieries in Newbridge. The tramroad was gradually shortened as the collieries closed, being used less and less, probably out of use by 1900 and closed completely by 1912.

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

The Kendon Tramroad from Newbridge to Kendon Collieries

The Kendon Tramroad left the main line near Pen-rhiw-bica, going past Cwmdows, Twyn Gwyn and Bush Collieries before finishing up at the Kendon Collieries. There appears to have been two routes beyond Bush Colliery, before and after the building of the TVER.

Kendon Tramroad from Newbridge to Bush Farm

The Kendon Tramroad to Twyn Gwyn Colliery - ST 2032 9664 to ST 2040 9695

The Kendon Tramroad loops round Newbridge to reach Cwmdows and Twyn Gwyn Collieries.

Kendon Tramroad from Tywn Gwyn to Bush Farm - ST 2040 9695 to ST 2082 9727

The Kendon Tramroad passes Cwmdows Farm and follows Park Road until it reaches the loading bank for Bush Colliery.

Kendon Tramroad from Bush Farm to Kendon

Old and new routes to Kendon. The building of the Taff Vale Extension Railway in 1859 cut through the tramroad to the original Kendon Colleries so a new route along Commercial Road was laid which was able to serve the later collieries in the area.

The original Kendon Tramroad, c1800 - 1860

The old route from Bush Farm to Crumlin has mostly disappeared but the route can be traced here and there along footpaths and lanes.

Woodview-Terrace-culvert-2107

The later Kendon Tramroad, 1860 - 1900

The new route followed Park Road and Commercal Road to the Kendon Viaduct and is a footpath from there to the main Kendon road.


Crumlin

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

Crumlin Town - ST 212984

A small fragment of the GWR station footbridge, built into the side of the chemist's shop, can be seen in the town centre. In 2020 half of a winding wheel had been erected by the entrance to Crumlin Navigation Colliery

Crumlin Viaduct - ST 2147 9864

Not a lot left these days, the Eastern parapet of Crumlin Viaduct is a good viewing platform but the Western parapet is hidden in the undergrowth at ST 2120 9854.

Kendon Viaduct - ST 2103 9842

Here the Western parapet is the good viewing platform and the Eastern parapet can be seen across the valley at ST 2113 9850.

Navigation Colliery - ST 2115 9875 Aberbeeg South Colliery - ST 2115 9915

Navigation Colliery was built between 1907 and 1911. The Navigation Colliery complex is a grade 2 listed building, having been used for various businesses since closure, but is unused, fire damaged and decaying rapidly. All the buildings remain in 2019, including the engine houses and a chimney, but for how much longer? However, help may be at hand - read on....
The Oxford House Industrial History Society had a conducted tour around the Navigation Colliery site at Crumlin in May 2015 as work to conserve the site and turn it into something useful finally gets under way. Many thanks to Glofa Navigation Trust for entertaining us and doing the business.

Aberbeeg South (also known as 'Budds') to the North of Navigation was the house coal pit and opened in 1924. The site has been cleared, a brick wall next to Navigation and a large flat concrete area near the tips at ST 213993 remain. Both collieries closed in 1967.


Kendon

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

Kendon Colliery, first site - ST 2020 9877

The first Kendon Colliery is shown on maps from 1813 and is shown as 'disused' by 1899.

Kendon Colliery, second site - ST 2038 9883

Kendon Colliery had moved to this second site in the 1890s but it is listed as 'suspended' by 1923 but probably worked periodically after that until the late 1940s.

Millbrook Colliery - ST 2016 9880

The Millbrook Colliery Co worked on the site of the old Kendon Colliery with at least two levels to the north from c1900 to c1947.

Rosemont Colliery - ST 2058 9883

Rosemont Colliery worked a number of levels further down the valley, from before 1918 to c1938.

Rosemont level - ST 2048 9883

Rosemont level was a modern working of the previous Rosemont No 2 level in the 1960s.

Crumlin brickworks, Kendon

Crumlin brickworks at Kendon appears on OS maps between 1916 and 1938. The only brick I've seen is imprinted 'Davies Bros Crumlin', the owners of Kendon Colliery.


Mynyddislwyn

Quick links to :-     Celynen North Colliery     Other Collieries at Newbridge     Halls Road to Pennar Tunnel
    Kendon Tramroad     Crumlin     Kendon     Mynyddislwyn Mountain

The Collieries of Mynyddislwyn

Cae'r Llwyn Colliery - ST 1838 9416

Cae'r Llwyn Colliery was opened c1880 and finally closed c1925, having been abandoned twice. Its owners included the Pengam Colliery Co and the Mynyddislwyn Colliery Co. There are no appreciable remains.

Pant-y-Resk Colliery - ST 2035 9565

Pennar Tramway

The 'Pennar Branch' or 'Pennar Tramway', ran from below Church Farm down to Pentwynmawr, originally connecting somehow with the canal at Newbridge. It served a number of levels and collieries en route and appears to have closed, along with most of the levels, between 1901 and 1920.

Islwyn Colliery - ST 1892 9526

Islwyn Colliery, also known at various times as Penrhiwffranc, Churchlands, Church Farm and New Pennar Colliery, dates from before 1818 and was the original terminus of the Pennar Tramway. There were over 24 levels and air shafts in the 'Islwyn Colliery' area, which were in use on and off right up to the 1980s.

Ton-y-moch Colliery - ST 1890 9568

Ton-y-moch Colliery consisted of about 10 levels at one time or another. The area was connected to the Pennar tramway between 1879 and 1901.

Pennar Ganol Colliery - ST 1995 9630

There were old levels at Pennar Ganol before 1879 with a tramway connecting them to Ton-y-Pistyll and probably the tramway down from Islwyn Colliery to Halls Road. The 'Pennar Ganol Colliery Co Ltd' re-opened the levels in 1921 but abandoned them in 1929. The Newbridge Bypass cuts right through the site today but most of the tramway can be followed.

Ty-gwyn Colliery - ST 2041 9625

The colliery near Ty-gwyn is shown as an 'old level' on the 1882 map but sometime between 1920 and 1960 a new level was opened next to the old one. The CA maps show 3 levels here. Nothing appears to be known about them

Quarries and Farms of Mynyddislwyn

Cae'r Llwyn Quarry or Mynyddislwyn Quarry - ST 1830 9370

Mynyddislwyn Quarry or Cae'r Llwyn Quarry was already a substantial quarry at the time of the 1846 Tithe Map and continued working until the late 1960s at least, supplying stone for the Elan Valley dams and Llanwern steelworks. In 1897 a tramway was proposed to connect the quarry with Cae'r Llwyn Colliery and the down to the Crooked Bridge at Pont Gam and then up to the railway near Gelligroes. Sadly it was not built.

Graig Farm - ST 2003 9453

Graig Farm is a relatively new farm, believed to have been created about 1911 as Upper Sychpant Farm, becoming unoccupied by 1972.

Pant-y-Resk Farm - ST 2035 9565

Pendaren - ST 1892 9469

There's some ironmongery in the stream at Pendaren, could be agricultural or remains of an old level.

Sychpant Farm - ST 2041 9435

Sychpant means dry valley or hollow, odd when there is a sizeable stream there. Could the stream have been dammed further up the valley in older days, or does it refer to the actual spot which is like a platform type hollow that the farm is built on? The farm was occupied from at least the early 1800s to 1953.


Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

'A historical tour around Mynyddislwyn Mountain' by Len Burland, Old Bakehouse Publications.
'Halls Tramroad' by Foster Frowin - A comprehensive five-part article appeared in 'Archive' magazine, Issues nos 55, 56, 59, 60 and 66 with loads of original photos and the 1840s tithe maps. Fascinating reading!!
Thanks to :- Chris Bartley, Lin Bryant, Peter Davies, Steve Davies, Andrew Gadd, Alan Murray-Rust, Rob Southall, Richard Terrell, David Williams, www.drillhalls.org.


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