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Industrial Wales - Monmouthshire's Rhymney Valley
Bedwas, Rudry and Waterloo
in the Southern Rhymney Valley.
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The Industrial Archaeology and History of Bedwas and Rudry in the Southern Rhymney Valley


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Bedwas and Trethomas

Brecon and Merthyr Railway

Low bridges, an old quarry and an odd collection of signals are to be found on this stretch of the BMR through Bedwas and Trethomas.

Bedwas Colliery - ST 1785 8945

A modern colliery working from 1909 to 1985, with a benzole plant next door from 1929, a pretty good demolition job has been carried out. However all sorts of odds and ends can still be found in the jungle.

Derrick Parsons remembers his early years in Bedwas and says, "My grandfather, Norman Bowyer, was a borer so he was right up front. He worked down the pit from the early 1920s to the early 1940s. During that time he lost an eye and a finger and finally died of dust – leaving a widow and 6 children. This was before the formation of the NCB and, as a consequence, his widow received very little compensation – I think it was a couple of free tons of coal a year. I must admit that this has coloured my politics to this day!"

Bryngwyn Colliery - ST 1617 8943

Opened by 1869 and closed in 1903, the colliery engine house is now partially conserved, at least it's fenced off! Follow the incline up to the railway and there are the incline engine and brakehouse and many other foundations. The photos below were taken in 1975 before conservation and nature reclaimed the area. I re-visited in 2012 and those photos are in the gallery but I couldn't identify the photo on the right any more. There's an excellent article in 'Archive' magazine, issue 38.

Cwm-y-glo Colliery - ST 1814 8872

Cwm-y-glo Colliery, 180 ft. deep, has long gone under re-development, being closed in 1893. It was linked to the BMR by a halfmile tramway which went under the main Newport Road through a tunnel at ST 1858 8872 - and there it is, still there in 2012!





Rudry and Waterloo

Waterloo Tinplate works - ST 1924 8807

Some ruined brick-built buildings in the woods behind the reservoir appear to be the last remains of the Tinplate Works. In the 1970s I can remember there being a large 'roofless?' building with the giant foundations of missing machinery.

Rudry Brickworks and Collieries

Garth Rudry Colliery - ST 1906 8781

Behind the spoil tips is the very marshy site of this level, believed to have been opened around 1875 by Bradbury, Price & Co and working until c1905.

Rudry Brickworks - ST 1931 8728

The brickworks branchline continues to the brickworks site of which nothing remains. The brickworks was owned by Nicholas and Johnson of Rudry Merthyr Colliery. More information on the 'Brickworks' page.

Rudry Merthyr Colliery - ST 1931 8728

Rudry Colliery was owned by Nicholas and Johnson by 1878, re-organised in 1888 to become Rudry Merthyr Colliery. By 1896 the receivers were in but still managed by A Johnson. It appears to have closed about 1899 but re-opened on and off until the 1930s.

Copi Gwynthi and Cwrt-y-llaca - ST 2046 8727

Copi Gwynthi woods to the East of Rudry Brickworks are an area of old coal workings but scantly recorded on maps, leading to a quarry at Cwrt-y-llaca that was 'old' in 1898 and roughly filled in.

Mynydd-y-bwlch levels - ST 2012 8772

The Mynydd-y-bwlch levels were old in 1875 and sporadically worked until the 1950s. The area was covered in old shafts, trial pits and levels but has been thoroughly landscaped.

Pentwyn Colliery - ST 2039 8810

Pentwyn Colliery was working from 1875 to around 1923, latterly owned by the Ashburnham Steamship Co. The site has been roughly cleared, possibly by the landowner or to extract shale to build Llanwern Steelworks. The colliery and engine house were beside the small lake and there were many other shafts and pits in the area just behind it. The incline from the colliery crosses the lane at ST 2033 8815 on solid stone abutments and is prominent running down the hillside to sidings at the site of New Pit at ST 2008 8874 on the Machen Forge branch. (very marshy, virtually a pond, I haven't got big enough wellies to explore this area yet)
Stephen Parry recalls "I spent my first five years in Woodland Cottage, which is in the fields just below there and often went to walk over that area around the pond which used to be there. I remember my uncle (Lesley Halbrock) working in the drift mine that was there; a mine owned (if I remember correctly) by Mr Bracey from Waterloo. You also had a picture of the remains of the bridge below that mine. That bridge was blown up by my Grandfather, Edward Nash, when it became unsafe. Grandshire was the Fire man at Bedwas Colliery and so used to explosives. Grandshire had started work as a 13 year old boy in the Big Pit in Blaenafon; the pit in which his father (William Pitt Nash) had died in the first fatal accident in 1889."

Garn level - ST 2059 8777

The Garn level had two periods of working, from 1920 to 1923 by the Ashburnham Steamship Co, then in the 1950s to 1964. The 1965 OS map shows a very interesting small mine operation with tramways, engine houses, shafts and adits. Sadly the whole area has been landscaped leaving just some flat and broken areas, possibly following shale extraction for the building of Llanwern steelworks. Would have loved to have seen this working....

Craig-y-Llan limekiln - ST 1976 8639
Craig-y-Llan airshaft - ST 1922 8622

To the South of Rudry lie Craig-y-llan and Coed Cefn-Onn. First, a very decrepid pair of limekilns lie beside the steep footpath from the 'Maen Llwyd' with a small quarry below them. Further West along the ridge footpath is a collapsed airshaft, possibly from the Rudry iron mines.

Coedcae Garw Farmhouse - ST 1928 8615

Down the hillside from the airshaft is Coedcae Garw, a ruined farm or smallholding.

World War 2 resistance bunker - ST 1985 8645

Further along Craig-y-llan is a small World War 2 resistance bunker just off the main ridge trackway. It was probably designed for special duties wireless operators. The entrance shaft is made from hollow concrete blacks and leads to a small entrance room disguises as a poachers den. Behind it was a larger room, both rooms with brick walls and a corrugated iron roof.





Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

Thanks for the use of their knowledge and photographs to :- Derrick Parsons, Stephen Parry, Richard Paterson, Tim Rendall
'Archive' magazine, issue 38 - 'Bryngwyn Colliery' by David Bick.
'The History of Rudry' by John Guy.


All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins