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Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire's Sirhowy Valley
The Central Sirhowy Valley
From Argoed to Markham via Manmoel
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Central Sirhowy Valley

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Argoed, Gwrhay, Cwrt-y-bella and Penderi

Argoed Village

Gwrhay Colliery loading bank - ST 1835 9945

Two loading banks, in fact, but I need to explore further.

Cwrt-y-bella level crossing - ST 1824 9955

Look out for the embedded rail on the NW side.

Cwrt-y-bella Colliery - ST 1849 9982

Tips and the adit are to be found if you explore, also a concrete foundation block at ST 1838 9994 in the field to the West, perhaps belonging to an earlier route of the electricity pylons.

Cwm Corrwg bridge - ST 1804 9992

on Halls Road, built for two tracks but only ever had one leads to .....

Penderi Colliery (1843) - SO 1820 0005

The loading bank at ST 1806 9991 was later a row of cottages. The incline ran up from ST 1809 9995 but is very overgrown.

Old Farmers level - SO 1819 0017

Open from 1814-1843 under Penderi Farm by the farmer, Llewellyn Llewellyn.

Twyn Simon Colliery (1920) - SO 1810 0037

This was known as Twyn Simon, owned by Bowditch, from c1920 -1930. A tramway ran down to Bowditch's sidings on Hall's Road, open from 1922 - 1931. The site was re-opened as the Penderi Colliery Co in 1960. A second entrance re-used the first Manmoel Colliery level at Rank Sir Henry.





Llanover Colliery and the various incarnations of Manmoel Colliery.

Llanover Colliery - SO 1799 0080

What's here now are the leftovers of Llanover Colliery, sunk in 1910 by the Bargoed Coal Co, coal winding ceased in 1929 but the colliery was used for pumping until Oakdale Colliery closed in 1989. Behind the fence is the shaft ( just the one, the other was the Abernant Colliery shaft), some embedded rails and tips. There's also some very strange stepped concretework behind the shaft which even appears on the OS maps but I don't know what it was, I'm told there was a shallow reservoir behind it. Down by the riverbank is the well-maintained drainage level on the site of the pumping station. As Hall's Road approaches the site there's a brick building at SO 1787 0055, could be a weighbridge, being right beside the trackbed, anyone know?
1810 - 1878 Sidings owned by Sir Henry Protheroe to 1860, T P Price (1870) and Manmole Colliery Co (1878)
1888 - 1906 Christopher Pond's first sidings. He had to move further up the line by the sinking of....
1906 - 1989 Llanover Colliery - Bargoed Coal Co. to 1932, Tredegar Iron Co (1932 - 1947), NCB ( 1947 - 1989)

Llanover Colliery stood at the original terminus of Halls Road and was the centre of a string of mining and quarrying ventures from 1810 to 1989. So, facing the shaft from the Halls Road trackbed, have a look around.
On the far right and on the far side of the stream a modern track runs up to Westfield quarries and level. On this side of the stream is the incline up to the first Manmoel Colliery.
In front of you is the peculiar concrete work and the incline up to the second Manmoel Colliery.>
To your left is the loading bank and tramway up to the third Manmoel Colliery.

Westfield Colliery - SO 1815 0047
Westfield quarries - SO 1825 0070

Christopher Pond owned Westfield Colliery and quarries which were open from 1888 to 1900. The incline went up the Southern side of the valley but the modern access track has covered most of it. There's a small quarry half way up and what appears to be the original incline can be seen there. The tramway from the hair-pin bend into the quarries is worth followed to view these amazingly silent places. You get a good view of the colliery site and its tramway from the Penderi Lane at the top of the track.

Manmoel Colliery (1) - SO 1810 0080

The first Manmoel Colliery was known as Hafodrisglod-Isaf level on the 1846 tithe map but it's also been spelt Hafod-yr-isclawdd, Hafodrisglod or Hafodriscllwd. It was working by 1810 but closed by 1880 and owned by Sir Henry Protheroe, then J P Price. Other than the fringes of the Tithe Map, the whole operation is very shy of maps. I've not found it accurately shown anywhere even on Reg Malpass's excellent maps.

The Incline - SO 1805 0075

However there are loads of physical remains starting with the incline, running in a cutting up to the tips. Judging by the size and location of the tips there ought to be a level behind them, possibly just before the track up to Rank Sir Henry.

Hafodrisclawdd-Isaf level - SO 1857 0101

To the East of the incline is the well-known Hafodrisclawdd-Isaf level which, in 2013, has been cleaned up and the stream dredged. This appears to be the original Hafodrisglod-Isaf level which went off to workings on the left but later a branch to the right may have served as the lower access to Twyn Simon Colliery. Further up the valley are signs of other minor activity.

Rank Sir Henry - SO 1851 0098

A small row of very old cottages with some small tips just in front of them.

Manmoel Colliery (2) at Hafodrisclawdd-isaf - SO 1823 0102

This is the site of the second incarnation of Manmoel Colliery, aka Mamhole Colliery in some documents. It appears to been opened around the 1860s by Sir Henry Protheroe, later owned by T P Price (or J P Price,1870), Manmole Colliery Co (1878) and Christopher Pond (1888 - 1907).

The site of the incline and colliery area has been reclaimed, the cutting filled in and planted with trees and just a bog where the level would have been. Little to see, I'm afraid.

Manmole Colliery (3) at Hafodrisclawdd-fach - SO 1802 0176

Christopher Pond was the owner of Manmole Colliery from 1885 - c1907. It was shown as disused on the 1920 OS map with two old tramways. The original tramway ran to the loading dock at SO 1799 0087 at the original Pond's sidings. The sinking of Llanover Colliery meant he was paid to move further up the Markham extension to SO 1781 0130 where the second route of the tramway ended and the tipping dock remains. The sidings were open from 1902 to 1930. The colliery was re-opened in 1924 by the Manmole Colliery Co of Argoed but had closed by 1945.

The tips and level still stand out beside Hafodrisclawdd-fach Lane and the tramway can be followed down to Llanover Colliery but, be warned, it's is very heavily overgrown. A fallen iron pylon rests beside it. The loading dock is at the other end and some stonework can be found at Ponds second sidings.

Hafodrisclawdd-fawr level - SO 1812 0155

This was an NCB-licenced level open from 1947 - 1949.





Markham

Abernant Colliery - SO 1710 0145

The first thing of interest is the LNWR Twyn-gwyn Lane bridge at SO 1749 0132. Head down the lane and along to Abernant Colliery, noting the culvert at SO 1737 0144. The tips were below the LNWR at SO 1724 0150 with some foundations and a rusty tank. The single shaft (the other was Llanover Colliery across the river) and and some concrete work are at SO 1710 0145 on the other side of the railway.

Halls Road - Tyr Graig bridge - SO 1770 0140

The stonework next to Tyr Graig bridge was probably the loading dock of the 1902-1930 Christopher Pond sidings at the foot of the tramway from Manmole Colliery.

Pont-nant-y-felin Quarry - SO 1762 0160

Pont-nant-y-felin sidings were open from 1915 to 1928 and you can trace the tramway to the quarries at SO 1762 0160.

Abernant-y-felin Viaduct - SO 1751 0150

This is one thing you won't see here I'm afraid. It was built in 1900 and buried in 1918, a short but brief existance for a very fine 6-arch stone viaduct. Unfortunately it began to subside as soon as it was built so they in-filled it with colliery waste (from Markham Colliery?). Now it's a substantial embankment but it's still under there somewhere. But in 2013 the tops of the arches could just be seen from the track beside the trackbed! The Twyn-gwyn Lane bridge is right at the north end of the viaduct.

Markham Colliery - SO 1677 0200

As Hall's Road enters the site there's a brick-lined pit beside the trackbed, which is blocked by a large block of brickwork containing some 'GKN. Ltd. Henllys' bricks. there's some good concrete work on the hillside and the shafts hide behind their fences.





Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks for addition information to :- Mark Lloyd.


All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins