Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire's Clydach Gorge
The Disgwylfa and Llangattock Tramroads
Bailey's tramroads to Disgwylfa and Llangattock Quarries
Search the site here

The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Clydach Gorge

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.

Baileys Disgwylfa Tramroad

Quick links to :-     Disgwylfa Tramroad     Llangattock Tramroad     Llangattock quarries and incline

The 2'4" gauge Disgwylfa Tramroad ran from Baileys Nantyglo Ironworks to the limestone quarries at Disgwylfa on Llangattock Mountain. The tramroad was at work by 1813 and abandoned by the 1830s in favour of the Llangattock quarries. The parts of the route below the Merthyr to Abergavenny railway line (MTAR) and also between the Clydach bridge and Cairn Mound have completely disappeared but the rest of the line makes an excellent walk.The route through Brynmawr can be followed along the roads and but the clearest length of the tramroad begins to the Southeast of Cairn Mound Reservoir and runs across the remote moorland above the Llangattock Tramroad.

The Tramroad through Brynmawr

The route of the tramroad through the streets of Brynmawr is easily traced as it heads up into Clydach Dingle. Then the construction of the Heads of the Valleys road has obliterated it and only a strong imagination will reveal the route to Cairn Mound. This journey along the line starts at Welfare Park and ends near the point where the tramroad crossed the Clydach river. A garden beside the line in Clydach Street has been landscaped in its memory.

From Cairn Mound across Nant-yr-Hafod

From Cairn Mound the Tramroad is easy to see as it crosses Nant-yr-Hafod, not often easy to walk as it's very boggy in places. It will become more solid underfoot as you leave Nant-yr-Hafod.

From Nant-yr-Hafod to the quarries

After Nant-yr-Hafod the tramroad is a good hardcore formation across the moors to the quarries.

The Disgwylfa Quarries - SO 2180 1430

The quarries are the home of 'The Lonely Shepherd', a limestone pillar visible for miles around. It was left by the quarrymen in the 1820s but has gathered a mystical significance since.

The Llangattock Tramroad to Waun Watcyn

Quick links to :-     Disgwylfa Tramroad     Llangattock Tramroad     Llangattock quarries and incline

Coed Cae Mawr - SO 1983 1301

Ancient and modern workings to the North of the tramroad. Coed Cae Mawr worked an 18" seam on and off until the late 1980s or early 90s, leaving behind quite a bit of ironmongery around a corrugated iron shed.

Cwm Nantmelin - SO 2001 1257

Cwm Nantmelin, 400 yds away from Coed Cae Mawr, worked around the end of the 19th C, leaving an interesting run of collapses running through the field behind the level.

Pant-mawr Quarry - SO 2205 1310
Coed Pantydarren Quarry - SO 2200 1375

The monument stood beside the road near the quarries but has been vandalised and the ironwork stolen.

Craig-y-gaer Quarry - SO 2240 1325

A very old, bench-worked quarry connected directly to the tramroad.

Craig-y-gaer sewage tank or limekiln? - SO 2230 1307

This structure turns up on the 1899 OS map and is described as a sewage works of Brynmwr UDC with an aqueduct approaching it from Brynmawr. So it stays up to 1948 but on the 1965 map it's become a disused limekiln. It's on the side of a very steep hill, the inside is cylindrical rather than cone-shaped and there is no drawhole. So given the pipework coming down the valley past the Hafod Bridge, I think the original surveyors knew exactly what it was!

Llangattock Quarries and Incline

Quick links to :-     Disgwylfa Tramroad     Llangattock Tramroad     Llangattock quarries and incline

Coedcae Uchaf limekiln - SO 2147 1469

Coedcae Uchaf is where the Llangattock complex really gets started. There's a small limekiln in the quarry, you can see the pot but the drawhole has been covered. It's the site of 'Cymro', 'several cottages and gardens for which no rent is payable' according to the 1843 Tithe Map. This is where the Waun Watcin Tramroad to the Pant-y-rhiw quarries joined the main line to Nantyglo.

Waun Watcyn Tramroad - SO 2147 1469

One of the last developments was the Waun Watcyn Tramroad, which left the main line at Coedcae Uchaf and rose steadily to Pant-y-rhiw Quarry. On its way it crossed the Daren Quarry Tramroad and passed Pant-y-rhiw Limekiln and bins. A little further it arrived at the head of the Pant-y-rhiw Incline, which then became redundant, carrying on to Pant-y-rhiw Quarry. This tramroad appears to date from the 1840s and may well have been worked by locomotives.

Pant-y-rhiw limekiln - SO 2051 1539

Pant-y-rhiw limekiln and storage bins sit just off the Waun Watcyn Tramroad. The limekiln is probably the older structure and has one drawhole with two access hatches. next are two or more bins and a large stone-built retaining wall, possibly a loading bank.

Daren Quarry - SO 2080 1525

Daren Quarry was the most Easterly of the quarries on the Llangattock escarpment, reached initially by an extension of the Disgwylfa Tramroad. Later it had a tramroad connection to the Pant-y-rhiw incline by a reversal and later by a link to the Waun Watcyn Tramroad.

Pant-y-rhiw Quarry - SO 2020 1565

Pant-y-rhiw Quarry was the terminus of the Waun Watcyn Tramroad.

Daren Cilau - SO 2010 1585

The main line of the Tramroad continued from Coedcae Uchaf below the Pant-y-rhiw quarries to Chwar Mawr. It passed a couple of small quarries and the early workings at Daren Cilau where the incline was situated.

Chwar Mawr - SO 1930 1565

Chwar Mawr are the original workings at the West end of the Llangattock escarpment and were connected by a 'stone chute' to the tramroad to the canal. Later the incline was built to replace the stone chute and the workings were joined to the main tramroad.

Llangattock Incline and Tramroad to the canal - SO 1995 1630

The incline and tramroad to the canal and its limekilns.

A Guide to the Website

All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins