Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire
The Wye Valley and Coast
The Wye Valley to Monmouth and along the Severn Estuary
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of Newport and Monmouth County

Click on the link to go to :-     Western Newport     Eastern Newport     Transporter Bridge
Rogerstone, Bassaleg and Coedkernew     Caerleon, Ponthir and Uskmouth
Caerleon to Abergavenny     Abergavenny to Talybont     Sudbrook and the Severn Estuary     The Wye Valley

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Sudbrook and the Severn Estuary

Quick links to :-     Abergavenny to Talybont     The Merthyr Railway to Gilwern
Caerleon and Usk to Abergavenny     Sudbrook and the Severn Estuary     The Wye Valley

Sudbrook Shipyard and Slipways - ST 5090 8775

The shipyard in Sudbrook was in operation from 1888 to 1922, after the Severn Tunnel was completed, there being many skilled workmen already on site. After 1922 small engineering and repair shops used the few remaining building but they will soon be demolished for new housing. The remains of the slipways should survive on the foreshore.

Around Sudbrook

The Sudbrook and Black Rock branch lines, the paper mill and the Severn Tunnel pumping station.

Wentwood, Penhow and Caldicot

A narrow-gauge 'Jubilee' wagon body lies upside-down beside the path between Wentwood Gate and Yewtree Cottage at ST 4006 9261. I guess it may have come from Penhow Quarry or Wentwood Reservoir but was there another railway in this area? Higher up lies this Lister pump, once servicing a tank fed by a spring.

The Wye Valley

Quick links to :-     Abergavenny to Talybont     The Merthyr Railway to Gilwern
Caerleon and Usk to Abergavenny     Sudbrook and the Severn Estuary     The Wye Valley


E Finch & Co Ltd

E Finch & Co Ltd began life building the Chepstow railway bridge for I K Brunel in 1852. It developed into a varied engineering company, notably shipbuilding. The company was sold in 1916 eventually becoming the Fairfield Mabey engineering works.

Tintern's limekilns and other treasures

The Cold Bath, Piercefield - ST 5248 9684

The ruins of an 18th century cold water plunge bath. The tile-lined pool was fed by water from a stream via a culvert. Later a hydraulic ram was installed in an adjacent brick building.

Colwell Grove limekiln - ST 5331 9975

An early 19th century limekiln with two draw holes restored in old quarry in Colwell Grove. Lots of small quarries in the hillside behind them. Look at the base of the wall on the other side of the main track to see some arched construction in the footings.

Limekiln Wood limekiln - ST 5320 9955

Behind Colwell Grove deep in the woods and on a heck of a slope are a set of substantial limekilns. There are two separate kilns a few yards from each other, each with double draw holes. Very difficult to get good photos as they are in heavy shadow and 'back a bit, back a bit' will result in serious injury. But they are well worth the effort.

Porthcasseg Farm limekiln - ST 5237 9761
Reddings Farm limekiln - ST 5313 9910

An almost buried limekiln with two draw holes near Porthcasseg Farm. A small quarry is behind it and another is to the South.
The limekiln at Reddings Farm was marked 'old' in 1900 and has now virtually disappeared.

Tintern's iron, lead and tinplate Industry

Wyndcliff Woods - ST 5298 9866

There are many old lead workings around Wyndcliff Woods, some dating from Roman times. An air shaft can be found to the right at the top of the '365 steps'.

Tintern Ironworks - SO 5140 0027

Tintern ironworks worked from the 16th century to around 1826. The charcoal blast furnace was around 9ft diameter with a waterwheel to work the bellows. The waterwjheel was fed by a leat from the upper pond, carried on short pillars at the works end. Stone pillars carried water to the wheel. At the end of the 1700s the bellows were replaced by iron blowing cylinders - a world first.

Lower Wireworks, Tintern - SO 5267 0010

Wiremaking began at much the same time as the ironworks and carried on until the Abbey Wireworks Co closed in 1875. It reopened as the Abbey Wire and Tinplate Co in 1880 and closed again in 1901, this time for good.

Tintern Wireworks railway bridge - SO 5300 0028

Before the branch from the Wye Valley Railway had even opened, the Abbey Wireworks Company had stopped trading. The line remained disused until the early 1880s when the works were taken over by the Abbey Wire and Tinplate Company but this too closed in 1901. From then on the branch was only used by horses for the sawmills and turnery works in the village. The line closed completely in 1935 and most of the tracks were lifted for scrap in 1941.

Along the Wye Valley Railway from Chepstow to Monmouth

Tidenham Tunnel - ST 5476 9729

Tintern Quarry to Tintern tunnel

Tintern Station - ST 5370 0065


Bridges and inclines on the GWR Coleford branch and the Monmouth Tramroad.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks to Mike Kilner for finding the brickworks in Usk and Raglan and, in his role as warden of Cefn Ila, accompanying me on my explorations in its undergrowth.

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All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins