Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire's Rhymney Valley
The Northern Rhymney Valley
From Aberbargoed to Blaen Rhymney and the Darran Valley.
Search the site here

The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Rhymney Valley

Click on the link to go to :-     Bedwas and Trethomas     Rudry and Waterloo     Machen     Draethen lead mines     Caerphilly     Senghenydd     Llanbradach     Ystrad Mynach     Hengoed     Nelson     New Tredegar     Abertwsswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     The Darran Valley

Or click on the button to go to :-

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge a photo or map and sometimes read more about it.
Then click 'Full Size' on the toolbar to see it in all its glory.

The Darran Valley

Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

Bargoed to Groes-faen Colliery - SO 1346 0057

Wingfield Colliery sidings - SO 1345 0055

The screens and sidings on the BMR opposite Groes-faen Colliery. Previously the tramways from Bryncoch Colliery had a loading bank here.

Groes-faen Colliery - SO 1350 0060

Darran Colliery - SO 1305 0125

Deri Village and Station - SO 1285 0170

In the hills around Deri

Deri overbridge - SO 1254 0247

The wooden overbridge spanning the BMR main line and the Ogilvie Colliery branch is now a listed structure and was restored in 2010.

Ogilvie Colliery - SO 1202 0298

Fochriw and Pentwyn

Between Fochriw and Rhaslas Pond

A maze of one-time railways, mines and watercourses. One more modern claim to fame is that an early David Tennant episode of Doctor Who was filmed up here. It was called Tooth and Claw, when the Doctor and Rose met Queen Victoria on a Scottish moor, (actually Fochriw!)

Around Fochriw Colliery feeder pond - SO 0993 0547

Tips, shafts and workings from the late 19th century.

The Brecon and Merthyr Railway - SO 0996 0638

The Brecon and Merthyr Railway bridged the Pontlottyn road here. To the South an embankment ran to Fochriw past the sidings to Fochriw Colliery on the right. A brick-built building near the site of the station may be a permanent way hut. To the North a deep cutting took the line towards Pant-y-Waun Halt but this soon disappears under the opencast tips.

Around Rhaslas Pond - SO 0950 0715

Rhaslas Pond was opened c1818 as one of the largest ponds that formed the Dowlais Free Drainage System. This system of linked ponds primarily fed water to Dowlais and Ivor ironworks.

Rhaslas Houses Quarry - SO 0907 0715

Rhaslas Houses were a pair of houses built prior to 1868 with a small quarry behind them and Rhaslas Pit in front. The quarry may have been the source of stone to line Rhaslas Pit shaft.

Rhaslas Pit - SO 0927 0702

Rhaslas Pit appears to be a ventilating shaft dating from before 1870 but only known as 'Rhaslas Pit' by 1898. Prior to 1898 'Rhaslas Pit' is shown as just below Lower Four Foot Pit but by then marked as an 'old shaft'.

Tunnel Pit Houses - SO 0932 0632

Tunnel Pit Houses or South Tunnel Houses were built between 1870 and 1890 opposite South Tunnel Pit as a row of four cottages. They were rebuilt into one property, the 'Tunnel Tavern' in the 1970s and I believe it closed and was demolished in the late 1980s. Shepherds Pond above them was part of the Dowlais Free Drainage System of 1818. The 'tunnel' was the B&MR tunnel under the Merthyr Road in 1868 but this had gone by 1898, replaced by a bridge. Of the South Tunnel Pit itself, there's not the slightest trace.

Pant-y-Waun Mineral Railway

In 1875 the Pant-y-Waun Mineral Railway linked Dowlais Ironworks with Pant-y-waun Pit, Carnau Drift, Mine Pits Nos 1 and 2 and Lower Four Feet Pit. It was worked by locos from Dowlais Ironworks. Pant-y-waun Pit, Carno Drift and Mine Pits Nos 1 and 2 were closed c1886 so the railway from Dowlais to Lower Four Feet Pit closed and an extension Southwards to Tunnel Pit and Fochriw opened instead. The sinking of Tunnel Pit commenced in 1859 but was suspended until 1869, coal being raised in 1874 and it closed in 1924. That spelled the end of the Pant-y-Waun Mineral Railway and unfortunately very little remains due to the opencast and reclamation work.

Lower Four Feet Pit - SO 0910 0745

Lower Four Feet Pit probably started work c1856 with Pant-y-waun Pit and was reported flooded in 1868 when a shaft and level are shown on the OS map. At this time 'Rhaslas Pit' was just a few yards away. It was linked to Dowlais Ironworks by the Pant-y-Waun Mineral Railway. By 1898 Lower Four Feet Pit was much reduced and by 1915 is just shown as a pumping station. Nothing but tips are shown on the 1948 map except the 'old shaft' of Rhaslas Pit.

New Tredegar

Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

Elliots Colliery and Cwm Syfiog

Tir-phil - SO 1350 0355

White Rose Colliery - SO 1405 0385

The amazing 'colliery in a cupboard', probably a drainage level as the main level and second level were at the other end of the tramway which terminated by the BMR here. If you can manage to look through the gaps with a torch, you can see past the wall inside and the steel support rings going down into the hillside. White Rose Colliery was part of Thomas Powell's empire, later Powell Duffryn, working by 1850 and closed in 1908.

New Tredegar Colliery - SO 1380 0455


Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

Lloyds Level or Quarry Level, Mountain Ash - SO 1428 0661

A series of small levels known as Lloyds Level, or Quarry Level to the NCB, were opposite the Mountain Ash Inn, on the road from Abertwsswg to Tredegar. Old levels are shown here in 1899 and 1948 but it appears to have been re-worked (by a man called Lloyd?) in the 1960s. I took a photo while passing in 2010 but thanks to Stephen James for providing a lot more.


Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

Troedrhiwfuwch - SO 1296 0446

A vanished village below Pontlottyn

Rhymney Merthyr Colliery - SO 1215 0555

Pontlottyn - SO 1175 0610


Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

Bryn-oer Patch

Bryn-oer Patch has been subject to opencasting which has lost almost everything of interest. A few small areas remain where, with a lot of imagination, a taste of industry can be sensed.

Bryn-oer Quarry - SO 1190 0945

An old iron ore quarry marked as 'Old' on the 1875 OS map. It seems to be just one small area untouched by the opencasting work.

Bryn-oer Level and Suzannah's Row - SO 1130 0885

Bryn-oer Level was working by 1840 and appears to have been disused by 1875. It was connected to the Rhymney (Brinore) Tramroad to Trefil and seems to have closed when the tramroad closed. Suzannah's Row was built c1805 for iron and coal workers, probably during Richard Crawshay's ownership of the Union Ironworks. They are now very derelict and protected by stout metal fencing. Suzannah was the sister of Richard Crawshay and married John Bailey, becoming the parents of Crawshay Bailey of Nant-y-glo.

Tai-Level-Lo - SO 1142 0866

Tai-Level-Lo, or Tai'r Lefel Glo, consisted of two rows of pre-1846 cottages with coal workings around them. A licenced mine worked 6 levels in the hills above them from 1955 to 1992. The site of the cottages is now a smallholding. Tai'r Lefel Glo translates as 'Coal Level Houses'. John Morgan adds that the Houses were actually called Colliers Row. In the 1881 census his Great Grandparents, grandmother and her brother along with his 2x great Grandmother and 2x great uncle lived in 9 Colliers Row.

Gwaun Fawr Pit - SO 1148 0847

Gwaun Fawr Pit, or Waun Fawr, was probably working before 1840 and passed into the Rhymney Iron Co in 1873. It was abandoned in 1879 but used for ventilation for some years. It was connected to the Iron Co's valley tramway by what appears to be a double track incline. It may well have mined both coal and ironstone.

Bute Town - SO 1045 0915

Bute Town, originally known as New Town, was built in 1802 for the workers at the Union Ironworks. The model village was renovated in 1979. The LNWR / GWR railway link from the MTAR at Rhymney Bridge to Rhymney passed under the entrance road.

Nant Llesg Pit - SO 1050 0830

Nant Llesg Pit and Pitwellt were ironstone mines either side of Nant Llesg House, open by 1875 and disused by 1898. By 1915 a series of large water tanks and buildings were built in the grounds of Nant Llesg House but are now disused. The Rumney Ironstone Railway to the limestone quarries at Twynau Gwynion ran past the site.

Rhymney Town

Old Rhymney was riddled with the Rhymney iron Co's tramways running through it. They connected the ironworks with small levels, the brickworks, the brewery and sidings on the main railway line. Over the years re-building has changed the scene but some routes can still be followed. The tramway from Twyn Carno, past the brickworks and brewery site is a pleasant riverside walk and the route to the tunnel under 'The Lawn' is a lane and footpath up to the site of the tunnel.

Union Ironworks, Llechryd - SO 1085 0917

This is an 1802 upper blast furnace on the site of the Union Ironworks, the first ironworks in Rhymney. A Boulton and Watt 24cyl, 5 stroke (double) blowing engine was supplied in 1801.

Rhymney Tramroad to Tredegar - SO 1110 0925

On the North Western side of the stream towards Bryn-brith Pit, along the hedgerow, investigations have found evidence of a tramroad. This is should be the first 2'9" tramroad to Tredegar. The small header pond, below the original Bryn Bach pond, still exists.

Twynau Gwynion and the Rhymney Limestone Railway

Quick links to :-     Darran Valley     New Tredegar     Abertysswg     Pontlottyn     Rhymney     Twynau Gwynion

The extensive limestone quarries at Twynau Gwynion were originally connected to Dowlais Ironworks until 1825 when Morlais East quarries became that ironworks main source of limestone. The Bute Ironworks took over these quarries and the Rhymney Limestone Railway was opened.

The Rhymney Limestone Railway leaves Rhymney - SO 1050 0830

The embankment of the Rhymney Limestone Railway near Nant Llesg ironstone mine

The Rhymney Limestone Railway heads to Twynau Gwynion - SO 00746 0978

The trackbed of the Rhymney Limestone Railway can be seen behind the Asda supermarket, running through the lost village of Pengarnddu up to a large embankment over Nant Morlais where the quarries begin.

Twynau Gwynion quarries - SO 0650 1060

Once over the Nant Morlais, the main line carried on to the end of the quarries at the county boundary. Many tramroads and railway branches ran off to the right to serve what ultimately became some quite large quarries.

The ganister quarry aerial ropeway - SO 0677 1028

The aerial ropeway ran from a ganister quarry at Twynau Gwynion across the valley to East Morlais quarries for use in Dowlais Ivor works. It was probably built after 1914 as the Rhymney Limestone Railway had closed by then.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks to :- Adam Everley and Andrew Ralph for more information.
'The Merthyr Historian', the magazine of the Merthyr Tydvil Historical Society

A Guide to the Website

All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins