Industrial Wales - West Wales
West Glam, Carmarthen and Brecon
The Afan Valley, the Gower and Brecon
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The industrial history and archaeology of West Wales

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The Afan Valley

Quick links to :-     The Afan Valley and Cymmer     Swansea and the Gower     Neath Abbey Ironworks
Neath Valley     Pontneddfechan and Penwyllt     Brecon and Carmarthenshire     Pembrokeshire



Abergwynfi - SS 9006 9611

Avon Colliery had a long tramway running up the hillside to Avon Level Collieries. At one point it crossed the River Afan on a rather flimsy viaduct. Ceri Jones took these photos of the remains c2019.

The Gower Peninsular

Quick links to :-     The Afan Valley and Cymmer     Swansea and the Gower     Neath Abbey Ironworks
Neath Valley     Pontneddfechan and Penwyllt     Brecon and Carmarthenshire     Pembrokeshire

Bishopston Lead Mines

All-Slade Mine - SS 5851 8748

All-Slade Mine was first recorded working in the late 1700s when twas said to have made a profit of £12,000 but it's probably older than that. Active again for three years from about 1810, the mine is mentioned in "A Topographical Dictionary of The Dominion of Wales by Nicholas Carlisle, London, 1811", which says :- "There is a Lead mine in a Valley in this Parish, called All Slade, about a quarter of a mile from the Sea-shore. This Mine was re-opened about two years ago, and some Tons of Ore of a good quality were raised from it, but it was again dropped, either for want of Capital or Spirit in the Adventurers. Several Implements of the ancient Miners were discovered upon reopening it, which occasioned an idea that they perished in the Mine, but no remains of them were found." The mine was finally reopened as the Bishopston Silver-Lead Mine from 1850-53 with workings only reaching 14 fathoms below the deep level; reports in the Mining Journal state that the pump was never able to adequately cope with the influx of water. The only recorded output was 10 tons of lead ore in 1853.

Long Ash Mine - SS 5742 8862

Long Ash lead Mine was opened in 1852 but there was very little ore and it soon ceased work.

Pwll Du Quarry - SS 5851 8748

Pwll Ddu Quarry dates back to the 1600s and closed c1900. The quarry was let to individuals who managed their own section. The stone was piled on the beach to await shipping only in the Summer months.

Port Eynon

Saltworks and quarries

I wasn't expecting to find much old industry along the Gower coast but there turned out to be quite a few quarries, limekilns and this saltworks dotted about the coastal path.
The buildings date from the early 1600s and were soon extended to become a saltworks. This didn't last much after 1700, the saltpans being demolished and the building became home to the quarrymen and fishermen until the early 1900s

Coastal Limekilns

Little Tor, Three Cliffs - SS 5289 8797
Overton Mere, Port Eynon - SS 4540 8490
Ram Grove, Pitton - SS 4303 8685

Mewslade Bay kiln 1 - SS 4191 8726

Above the Eastern end of Mewslade Bay, shown as 'old limekiln' in 1879 with an adjacent quarry

Mewslade Bay kiln 2 - SS 4142 8744

At the Western end of Mewslade Bay where Fall Bay begins, shown as 'old limekiln' in 1879

Landimore - SS 4653 9339
Cwm Ivy, Llanmadoc - SS 4401 9374

One of 4 limekilns that existed in Landimore, Gower in 1878. I must have walked past the site of the most northerly which must be gone, the other two may still exist, another look another time ! And one next door at Llanmadoc.

Whiteford Sands

Whiteford Lighthouse - SS 4437 9726

This is the only cast-iron wave-swept lighthouse left in Europe. It was built in 1865 and designed by John Bowen of Llanelli and is 44ft high. The lighthouse was disused from 1920 to the 1980s when it was re-lit using solar power. Sadly this failed and the lighthouse is now just a physical beacon.

Unknown wreck - SS 445966

The wreck of an unknown steel ship lies just South of the lighthouse, complete with boiler and other pieces of ironmongery. At SS 449966 part of an upturned wooden boat appears and disappears with the sands.

Clyne Valley Colliery

Bob Ashton from Northants sent this photo of colliers at the short-lived Clyne Valley Colliery, Dunvant, only open from 1903 to 1915.

Neath Abbey Ironworks

Quick links to :-     The Afan Valley and Cymmer     Swansea and the Gower     Neath Abbey Ironworks
Neath Valley     Pontneddfechan and Penwyllt     Brecon and Carmarthenshire     Pembrokeshire

Neath Abbey Ironworks

The blast furnaces

Offices, warehouse and workshops

Coke ovens and charging area

Rolling Mills and Woollen Mill

Heol Draw weir

Cwm Clydach

Neath Valley

Quick links to :-     The Afan Valley and Cymmer     Swansea and the Gower     Neath Abbey Ironworks
Neath Valley     Pontneddfechan and Penwyllt     Brecon and Carmarthenshire     Pembrokeshire

Aberdulais and Cadoxton

Between Aberdulais and Neath

Cadoxton Limekilns - SS 7550 9868
Rhydding Colliery bridge - SS 7567 9839

Hidden in the undergrowth is what looks to be a bank of 6 limekilns that don't appear on any OS maps though 1960s maps show a quarry face behind them. The bridge under the Vale of Neath line was used by the tramway from Rhydding Colliery at SS 7500 9865 to the wharf on the Tennant Canal in 1880.

Cadoxton Colliery lower level - SS 7550 9920
Cadoxton Colliery upper level - SS 7561 9941
Cefnfaes Level - SS 7576 9971

The Cadoxton levels were a run of old levels in 1881 but worked on and off until the 1950s and possibly longer. They were linked by a tramway running down to Rhydding Colliery, a (brake) drum being shown on the 1880 map.

The Tennant Canal from Aberdulais to Neath

The Counties of Brecon and Carmarthen

Quick links to :-     The Afan Valley and Cymmer     Swansea and the Gower     Neath Abbey Ironworks
Neath Valley     Pontneddfechan and Penwyllt     Brecon and Carmarthenshire     Pembrokeshire


Gasworks and Hay Railway - SO 0518 2800

The gasworks is shown on the 1888 to 1964 OS maps but then slowly disappears. The 3'6" gauge 'Hay Railway' dates from 1816 and connected with the Kington Tramroad at Eardisley to form the longest tramroad in the UK - 36 miles. They were converted to railways from 1860.

Watton limekilns - SO 0547 2792

The Watton Limekilns at Brecon, a set of five kilns on the banks of the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal. The righthand (Eastern) two or three were built c1802 with the fourth added around 1805-6 in the same style. Sometime after 1807 a fifth smaller kiln was added at the Western end. They were fed from behind by the canal and the lime removed by tram on the Hay Railway below. The four main kilns had double drawholes while the fifth had a single drawhole.

Elsewhere in Breconshire


Llanybyther Brickworks - SN 5038 4226

Assuming that this is the brickworks shown on the map at Highmead, I'm told that a large walled garden was built there in the 1860s for which the brickworks may have been built. The brickworks only appears on the 1887 map and is already marked as 'disused'.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks for information and the use of their photographs to :- Bob Ashton and Euros Jones

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