Castell Coch slide pits
Industrial Wales - South and Mid-Glamorgan
The Lower Taff Vale
From Tongwynlais to Treforest
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The Industrial History and Archaeology of the Lower Taff Vale to Treforest

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Melingriffith and Tongwynlais

Melingriffith Tinplate Works and tramway

The Cardiff Railway from Coryton to Tongwynlais

The trackbed and bridges of the Cardiff Railway near Tongwynlais. The line past Coryton at ST 1440 8090 was disused after c1952 when a cut-off at Taffs Well was opened. The trackbed has since been severed by the M4 but is now open to walkers as part of the Glamorgan Canal Nature Reserve.

Rhiwbina Hill iron mine and limkilns - ST 1471 8313

An iron mine possibly from 1861 and some equally old limekilns at ST 1470 8304 plus some agricultural sites.

Tongwynlais, Castell Coch and Forest Ganol

Taffs Well to Nantgarw

South Wales Forgemasters - ST 1255 8320

The old 'engine shed' shaped building was indeed the Rhymney Railway engine shed, used to stable the banking loco for the 'big hill'.

The Barry Railway through Taffs Well

The Rhymney Railway through Taffs Well

The Taff Vale Railway and Cardiff Railway through Taffs Well

New Rockwood Colliery, Taffs Well - ST 1260 8415
Rockwood Colliery, Craig-yr-allt - ST 1345 8465

New Rockwood Colliery is quite recent in the grand scheme of things, being active from 1906 to 1963 and the buildings are currently in use by light industry. Rockwood Colliery, up in the hills, was linked to New Rockwood Colliery in Taffs Well by a halfmile incline passing through a short tunnel under the Barry Railway.

Bryn Coch Colliery and brickworks - ST 1209 8458

Bryn Coch Brickworks and Colliery is now a bijou housing estate but odd walls can be found under the Rhymney Railway and in the woods above.

Craig-yr-allt Colliery - ST 1217 8508

Craig-yr-allt Colliery, in operation by the 1790s, was abandoned around 1878 but it's loading bank can still be found in the rainforest.

Nantgarw Colliery

And finally a couple of photos from 1974 of Nantgarw Colliery and a distant view of Groeswen Colliery tips.

Lesser Garth or Little Garth

Modern workings on the Lesser Garth and the Barry Railway, including the tunnel and Walnut Tree Viaduct.

Morganstown and the old dolomite quarries

Taffs Well Quarry, Lesser Garth

Better known as the Steetley dolomite quarry but owned by Cemex since 2004. The entrance tunnel which breach the old Barry Railway tunnel was opened in 2009.

Walnut Tree Tunnel and Viaduct

Garth Iron Mine and tramways

Garth Iron Mine, Lesser Garth

With possible Roman ancestry, the Garth Iron Mine was developed by Blakemore and Booker, owners of the Melingriffith tinplate and Pentyrch iron works from 1805. Originally mined from the South, ore was taken down the upper tramroad to the Coed-y-Bedw tramroad and down the incline. In 1842, a tunnel was driven through the mountain to connect with the Coed-y-Bedw tramroad and the upper tramroad was abandoned. Booker went bankrupt in 1879 and the mine was abandoned in 1884.

The mine re-opened from 1926 to 1936 by the 'West of England Ochre and Oxide Co', succeeded briefly by 'F W Watkins' and the 'Garth-wood Co', closing again in 1937. World War 2 saw the mine being renovated for use as an ordnance store but left to become derelict again in peacetime. These details are taken from the late Reg Malpass' history of the mine in his Flickr photo album,

The Northern workings of the Garth Iron Mine

The Upper workings of the Garth Iron Mine

The top of the Lesser Garth is covered with the remains of very old workings that connected to the West by a tramroad

The Southern workings of the Garth Iron Mine


The Pentyrch Ironworks railway.

Lan Colliery - ST 1176 8338

Cwmdows Colliery and Garth Level - ST 1168 8383

Garth Rhondda Level - ST 1163 8397

Sidrig Level or Old Siding Level - ST 1168 8427

Garth Mountain

Treforest and Upper Boat

Cardiff Railway Rhydyfelin viaduct - ST 0870 8820

The Rhydyfelin viaduct was built in 1907, used once and then abandoned due to a long dispute with the TVR. It was 512ft long and rested on 35ft deep iron cylinders filled with concrete. The tunnel through the embankment was 473ft long with a span of 33ft and carried the mill race for the tinplate works.

Treforest Tinplate Works - ST 0870 8810

The Treforest Tinplate Works were built in 1833 by William Crawshay II. The structures include stone buildings with arched dividing walls. The waterwheels were served by the millrace from the Taff. There is an iron-framed blacksmiths shop and the former tinhouse was used for storing animal bones. The works was connected to the TVR to the South and to the 'Doctors Tramroad' to the North. A spur crossed the river bridge to the 'Doctors Canal' at Rhydyfelin.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading

Thanks for the use of their photographs to :- Geoff Atkins, Ceri Jones
'The Cardiff Railway' by Eric Mountford, The Oakwood Press

All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins