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Industrial Wales
The Glyn Valley
From Glyn Pits to Hafodyrynys
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of the Glyn Valley


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The Glyn Pits

The Balance Pit - ST 2727 9994

Glyn Pits Nos 1 and 2 - ST 2656 9984

Known as Race Colliery on the 1881 map. Glyn Pits Nos 3 and 4 were to the Northeast, down by the GWR line, appearing on the 1898 map.

The Leat - ST 2618 9973





Glyn Quarry and Quarry Level

Glyn Quarry - ST 2578 9946

Glyn Quarry, also known as 'Blaendare Quarry' after its owners, is shown on the 1880 OS map but had closed by 1912. The large, steep-sided quarry is very rough but the internal tramways are traceable from the quarry floor as far as the lost incline top.

Quarry Level siding, workshops and incline - ST 2584 9964

The remaining part of the quarry incline connected the colliery with the Blaendare branch. About halfway down on the left are the foundations of the stables and blacksmiths. Here, the incline cuts through the ancient leat to Glyn Pits which, on the right, was carried on a sustantial stone-built causeway, now heavily overgrown.

Downcast and upcast levels - ST 2578 9951

The Quarry Level, or Wern Tillery Colliery, is shown on the 1880 OS map just below the quarry but has disappeared by 1901. With the closure of the quarry, the Blaendare Co re-open it c1912, becoming infamous in 1926 when a strike is broken by a police baton charge. Quarry Level closed around 1943. The upcast level is gated and once had a furnace flue just above it, where foundations and a large diameter iron pipe remain. The main level was dug into the top of the quarry incline and has been sealed. An emergency exit from the colliery is reported to emerge near Blaendare Farm.

Quarry Level around 1986

These photos of Quarry Level main and upcast levels have been provided by Gary Taylor - many thanks, Gary.





Glyn Levels nos 1 and 2 and Glyntillery Colliery

Glyn Level No. 1 (1880), later Glyntillery Colliery (circa 1913) - ST 2522 9930

The first incarnation of Glyntillery Colliery, opened as Glyn Level No.1 prior to 1880 and renamed Glyntillery around 1913. It was disused by the 1960s. The woods conceal a number of interesting remains - brickwork and the sealed level and drainage level, foundations, old rails and the body of a metal dram (or could it just be a watertank?). What appears to be the ironwork of a wooden-bodied dram and a flue lie close by.

Glyn Level No. 2 - ST 2539 9938

Glyn Level No.2 opened prior to 1880 and was disused by 1920, being retained for ventilation as it had a small furnace (really just a large fireplace) situated inside the entrance. Old photos of the Glyn Ponds show a stubby stone or brick chimney above the furnace.

Glyntillery Colliery (c1915)- ST 2487 9920
Glyntillery Colliery (1954) - ST 2387 9869

The second site of Glyntillery Colliery is shown as a small level in 1916 and disused by 1962.
The third and final incarnation of Glyntillery Colliery, previously one of Hafodyrynys Colliery's drifts. The drift was closed in 1975 finally ending the nomadic existence of Glyntillery Colliery.





Hafodyrynys and the Northern side of the valley

Coedcae Newydd Colliery - SO 2598 0007

Coedcae Newydd Colliery appears only on the 1920 OS map and the tramway, tips and sites of numerous adits along the outcrop survive in deep and vicious undergrowth. Owned by John Bowen in 1904 but he went bankrupt in 1905 according to the London Gazette. Not a good businessman or not good coal?

Cwm Glyn or Bryn Gwyn level - ST 2579 9988

A stone wall on the side of the Old Crumlin Road is the only obvious sign of Cwm Glyn or Bryn Gwyn level, abandoned in 1878. There was a 'Bettys Level' next door. Workings up the hillside behind the level running NW through a cutting in the hillside are possibly the remains of the third Gelly Colliery incline.

Cwt-y-mynydd Colliery - ST 2436 9951

In 1880 this was an area of old workings on an outcrop but by c1895 Cwt-y-mynydd Colliery was up and running. However it closed around 1903 leaving the tips and a number of shallow workings, quarries and gravel pits.

Mysterious ruins on Cefn Crib - ST 2411 9970

On the top of Cefn Crib, just above Cwt-y-Mynydd Colliery, there was a brick-built octagonal building with an attached square building and another square building 100 ft away, all made of concrete and unmarked bricks.. It seems that they were a military observation point, searchlight or anti-aircraft battery. The octagonal shape resembles the Pontypool Folly - did it also serve as a cunning WW2 diversion?

Hafodyrynys Village

Cefn Crib Colliery - ST 2342 9950

On the top of Cefn Crib, just above Cwt-y-Mynydd Colliery, there was a brick-built octagonal building with an attached square building and another square building 100 ft away, all made of concrete and unmarked bricks.. It seems that they were a military observation point, searchlight or anti-aircraft battery. The octagonal shape resembles the Pontypool Folly - did it also serve as a cunning WW2 diversion?

Cwm Level - ST 2282 9956

Cwm Level first appears on the 1901 map, slowly expanding up the hillside until the 1938 edition. It's marked 'disused' by 1948.

Penyrheol Colliery - ST 2291 9982

An old level is shown below Heol Cochwydd from 1880 onwards with Penyrheol Colliery appearing above Heol Cochwydd on the 1962 map. Planning permission for new levels was granted in 1961. The company was known as the Blaentwina Colliery Co Ltd or Blaentwina Drift Mine Ltd from 1988 to 1995 when it was dissolved.

Tyr Hen Forwen North levels (Penyrheol Colliery) - SO 2352 0001

An old level is shown here in 1880, a new level was open in 1901 but gone again by 1920. As far as I can tell, this is the site of two new levels into Penyrheol Colliery opened c1969 and closed with Penyrheol in 1994. This is the site shown in 'Small Mines of South Wales Vol 1'.

Tyr Hen Forwen South levels - ST 2348 9968

A very old site with 3 or 4 levels which were 'old' in 1880. There seems to have been a revival in the 1960s with a small level which may have been called 'Bush Colliery'.

Hafodyrynys Colliery - ST 2437 9902

The surviving water tower of the once extensive site of the modern Hafodyrynys Colliery, opened by 1914. A modernisation scheme in the 1950s saw new drift mines either side of the valley but coal-winding ceased in the 1960s. However, the washery continued in use until the 1970s. The filled-in concrete portal of the 1954 level is to the North of the main road.





Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

'Small Mines of South Wales Vol 1' by A J Booth, Industrial Railway Society, 1997


All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins