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Up The Mountain

June 17th, 2020

With most nearby hills out of bounds above the mountain fence, the Blorenge is one of the few that are still open and within walking distance of our doorsteps. Helen Morgan from Abergavenny Local History takes a stroll from Llanfoist bridge to Pwll-du.

One way is along the old parish road, past the cemetery and the garden centre. The other is along the route of the railway line that ran from Brecon Road to Brynmawr and beyond. This is the path that goes past Kwik-fit and Waitrose fuel pumps, under the A465 to the The Cutting and across the field to The Crossing. Either way, you will find yourself walking up Church Lane to the tunnel under the canal. At this point you meet the incline, where the footings of the horse-drawn tram road that brought iron, coal and lime down to the canal are still visible.

Once up on the open hillside and over the stile, veer right and you will be on the tram road that was built for Thomas Hill to connect the Blaenavon ironworks with the canal. Now known as the Iron Mountain Trail, it follows the contour above Govilon, before meeting the B4246 for a short dis-tance. It then crosses over and heads down past Garnddyrys Forge. It all fell into disuse when the standard-gauge railway reached Blaenavon, the Forgeside plant went into production and Garnddyrys forge was dismantled. But from 1817 to 1863 Garnddyrys was bustling. Its puddling furnaces converted pig iron from Blaenavon to wrought iron, which was milled into rolling bars and rails. From the road, an oval depression ringed by a wall marks the reservoir that kept the wheels turning in the forge. By 1851 it numbered 34 households, two pubs and a school.

Today, down the Iron Mountain Trail path from the road towards Pwll-du, huge lumps of reddish brown slag stand in eerie isolation along the shelf. Ruins of a smithy and pub linger near the wooden bridge. Part of this path beyond the bridge has fallen away but an alternative track leads upwards and along to Pwll-du quarry. From 1818 until the late 1850s, lime from this quarry was carried along the tramroad to the kilns in Llanfoist. The burnt lime was then transported along the Llanvihangel tramroad to Abergavenny and Hereford.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Abergavenny Local History Society activi-ties are suspended until further notice. Our website abergavennylocalhistorysociety.btck.co.uk will be updated when more in-formation becomes available.

 

Helen Morgan

 

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