Brynmawr Historical Society

Cymdeithas Hanes Brynmawr

Badge New Nantyglo_and_Blaina_Ironworks

Industrial Remnants - Page 1

A coal level just below the Heads of the Valleys Roundabout -  

The overgrown level entrance is just to the left.

Bell Pits

This is a collapsed Bell Pit among the Brynmawr Patches.

Coal or Iron would be dug out of the "patch". the hole formed would resemble a bell. It was dangerous work as the sides could collapse burying the worker. According to local legend it was in the bell pits the swallows hibernated over winter, It was one way of explaining where they went at the end of Summer.

A Dried Up Pond.  

This is on the moorland behind Brynmawr, a dried up pond gives a real moon scape, there is a sink hole at the far end of the pond .  

Dukes Table

The remains of a second  Duke's Table on the moorland behind Brynmawr  (Note - There is a better example of a Dukes Table at Trefil)-  this would be a place where the Duke and his companions would sit for their lunch

during Grouse Shooting. The "table" was a raised area with a hollow surrounding it. Guests would sit on the edge of the hollow to eat off the "table".  

Plenty of fresh water nearby.

Photographs on the next two pages show some of the remnants of past industries in the area.

A coal wagon

at Clydach Dingle.

The last working coal level was at Clydach Dingle - more information to follow.

Scouring Ponds

A good example of a scouring pond among the patches behind Brynmawr. To form the pond a dam would be built in a stream to hold back a good head of water.

The dam would be broken and the rush of water would wash away the top soil exposing the iron or coal underneath. This would be dug out and taken to the iron works at Nant y Glo.      

The Patches

Photo 1 - These were areas where people would dig into the hillside to extract the coal and iron ore which outcropped near to the surface. Each section was identified by the worker's name

Photo 2 - This is a small quarry on the side of the Patches. Limestone as well as coal and iron stone would be dug out of the Patches, all for the furnaces at Nant y Glo or possibly Beaufort Iron Works.

Finger Tips

These are the waste tips left behind by those working the Patches. They are called "Finger Tips" because they stretch out like fingers. The front of the tips would be where they were tipping waste, move towards the back and somewhere you would find the patch they were working. It could be a bell pit, today it would appear as a hollow in the ground where the pit has collapsed in on itself.

Photo (5) - The tip of one of the "Finger Tips". it is surprising how high some of them are. You can often find small bits of iron stone on the edges of the tips.

Photo (6) -On this photo you can clearly see the "finger tips". The nearest to the camera is now becoming overgrown with broom and gorse and a haven for rabbits and foxes.

The Shepherd's Rest.

This is to the right off the mule track that led from the top of Fitzroy Street to Slam Gate. It overlooks the Patches and it's on private land so anyone wishing to see it should seek permission.  It may well have been as it says, a Shepherd's Rest but Edwin Jones and I also thought it may have been a check point where someone counted how many mules left the Patches for the iron works at Nant Y Glo, or quite simply a place where the patch workers could shelter though not many could get inside.

When I first came here in 1973 it was a small stone built shelter with a roof and inside a fire place. Vandalism has more or less destroyed it, a shame.

               Eifion Lloyd Davies

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