Dare Valley Country Park
Industrial Wales - South and Mid-Glamorgan
The Cynon Valley
From Mountain Ash to Aberdare and Hirwaun
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The Industrial History and Archaeology of South and Mid-Glamorgan

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Mountain Ash

Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

To Mountain Ash and Penrikyber Colliery


Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

The Taff Vale Railways' Dare Valley branch

The Taff Vale Railways' Dare Valley branch ran from North of Aberdare Station to Nantmelin Colliery and Bwllfa Dare Colliery, hugging the bank of the Dare River. It had connectons to Graig Colliery and Cwmdare Colliery to the South and the short-lived Duffryn Dare Colliery (1902-1910) to the North.

Gadlys Colliery

Graig Colliery branch

Under the GWR Dare Valley viaduct

Duffryn Dare Colliery

Merthyr Dare and Cwmdare Collieries

Graig Colliery - SN 9950 0208

Graig Colliery appears to have been established before 1861 by the Gadlys Iron Co. It became part of 'Wayne's Merthyr Co Ltd' in 1877 and was abandoned in 1901. The quarries on Cwm Rhiw Ddu were linked to the colliery by a long incline which had closed by 1868.

The Great Western Railways' Bwllfa Dare branch

The Great Western Railways' Bwllfa Dare branch started with a reversal at Dare Valley Junction on the Cwmaman branch. The Visitor Centre is built on the site of Cwmdare Colliery, the start of a tramway to the tips and levels on the hillside above. Llwynhelig Colliery was one side at SN 9892 0234 and Merthyr Dare Colliery was the other side at SN 9814 0260

Nantmelyn Colliery - SN 9739 0274

Nantmelyn Colliery or Bwllfa No.2 Pit was sunk in 1860 near the head of Cwmdare; it commenced coaling in 1861 and closed in 1956/7. The site was demolished and landscaped in the early 1970s

Windber Colliery - SN 9718 0288

Winber Colliery was operated by D.R. Llewellyn between about 1900 and the 1920's. In 2014 the remains include a brick engine house, drift entrance, tramroad routes, tips and aerial ropeway stanchion (possibly for Nantmelin Colliery).

Bwllfa Dare Colliery - SN 9700 0245

Bwllfa Colliery, also known as Bwllfa Dare and Bwllfa No.1, was sunk at the head of Cwmdare in 1853. The mine was closed in the late 1930s and by 1948 the site was 'disused' and largely demolished, according to the 1953 edition Ordnance Survey 6in map. it is believed that the 1930s steel-lattice headframe had been moved to Tower Colliery in 1941. However, after nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, a scheme to link Bwllfa underground with a reconstructed Mardy Colliery included redevelopment of the Bwllfa site and accordingly most of the remaining buildings were demolished and a new concrete headframe (over the existing south shaft), electric winder house and other facilities were constructed. The old south winder house was retained but remained in a derelict condition. The colliery ceased working in 1977 but was retained as an escape shaft for Mardy Colliery until the late 1980s.

Aberaman and Cwmaman

Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

The Cwmaman branch

This week it's the Cwmaman branch that the Ramblers visit, from the Visitor Centre to Forchaman. As usual, lots of interest, old shafts, quarries, tramways and bridges. And again, as usual, I've got to go up there and follow up on many things.

Foundry Town to Aberaman

Blaengwawr Quarry - SN 9972 0152

From Blaengwawr Colliery an incline ran up the hillside to Blaengwawr Quarry, where tramways linked the individual quarries.

Godreaman and Cwmneol

Cwmaman and Forchwen


Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

Gadlys Ironworks and Aberdare Town - SO 0004 0299

Gadlys Ironworks and Aberdare Town

GWR Dare Valley branch - SN 9818 0495

Gamlyn Viaduct and Cemetery Road level crossing

Aberdare to Hirwaun Tramroad

The Aberdare to Hirwaun Tramroad


Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

Mountain Pit - SO 0167 0513

Mountain Pit was the upcast pit for Blaen-Nant Colliery, a balance pit, dating from before 1870. It was owned by the Aberdare Iron Co and seems to have closed when AIC went bankrupt in 1873. Blaen-nant Colliery itself was later worked from c1880 to 1927 when it was abandoned. Mark Evans visited the site in 2021 and took these photos.

Hirwaun and Penderyn

Quick links to :-     Mountain Ash     Cwmdare     Cwmaman     Aberdare     Abernant     Hirwaun and Penderyn

Hirwaun - SN 9575 0560

Cross Street, Hirwaun, in c1890 and in 2019. The Aberdare to Hirwaun and Penderyn Tramroad makes its way towards Hirwaun Ironworks. It doesn't appear to receive much traffic any more !!

Penderyn and Tor-y-Foel Quarry - SN 9415 0900

Tor-y-Foel Quarry was the earliest quarry in Penderyn, probably used from 1757. The tramway was built in 1799 to connect to the Hirwaun tramroad, converted in 1904 to a standard gauge railway line.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading

Thanks for the use of their photographs to :- Coflein, Alan George at alangeorge.co.uk, Dare Valley Visitor Centre, Mark Evans, Alan Murray-Rust, RCT Libraries

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All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins