Cwmavon, Torfaen

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Cwmavon
Side view of Forge Row Cottages, Cwmavon.jpg
Forge Row Cottages
Cwmavon is located in Torfaen
Cwmavon
Cwmavon
Cwmavon shown within Torfaen
OS grid referenceSO 27039 06557
Community
Principal area
Ceremonial county
CountryWales
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townPONTYPOOL
Postcode districtNP4
Dialling code01495
PoliceGwent
FireSouth Wales
AmbulanceWelsh
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
List of places
UK
Wales
Torfaen
51°45′11″N 3°03′30″W / 51.752942°N 3.058364°W / 51.752942; -3.058364Coordinates: 51°45′11″N 3°03′30″W / 51.752942°N 3.058364°W / 51.752942; -3.058364

Cwmavon (Welsh spelling: Cwmafon; translation: "river valley") is a hamlet about 2 miles south of Blaenavon and 4 miles north of Pontypool. The hamlet is part of the community of Abersychan in the county borough of Torfaen in south east Wales, and is within the boundaries of the historic county of Monmouthshire.

Cwmavon is in the south of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (a World Heritage Site), the Blaenavon Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest, and in the Cwmavon Conservation Area.

Geography[edit]

The scattered settlement lies in the steep wooded valley of the Afon Llwyd. The agricultural landscape, with irregular field patterns, scattered farmsteads, woodlands, sheep folds, limestone quarries and kilns is typical of the medieval and post-medieval mixed agriculture in the wider region.[1]

The Afon Llwyd is at the eastern edge of the South Wales coalfield, so no coal mining took place in Cwmavon. However, the western side of the valley, in areas such as Varteg and Garndiffaith, included coal mines and ironworks.[2]

Industrialisation[edit]

In 1793 the Blaenavon Railroad (a horse drawn tramroad) was completed to link Blaenavon Ironworks with the Monmouthshire Canal.[3] The engineer for both the tramroad and canal was Thomas Dadford, Jr for the Monmouthshire Canal Company.[4] The connection between the canal and tramroad at Pontnewynydd was completed in 1975 and the canal opened in February 1976 for shipping of goods from the ironworks to the port of Newport.[5][6][7] A branch was built to connect the nearby Varteg Ironworks (founded in 1802) to the railroad at Cwmavon.[8][9]

In 1806 a forge was built near the Afon Lwyd to serve the ironworks.[9] At about the same time a row of twelve cottages (Forge Row, Cwmavon) were built for the workers of the forge.[10][11][12][13][14][15] The forge closed later but was revived in 1823, and Cwmavon House was built (sometime between 1825 and 1835) about 40m north of Forge Row for Mr Partridge, owner the forge.[16] The forge closed in 1840 and many of the workers moved away.[16][17]

In 1845 the Monmouthshire Canal Company obtained an Act of Parliament to improve the Blaenavon Railroad and connect it to a new railway to Newport under the control of a new company, the Newport and Pontypool Railway. In 1848, after slow progress on building, the railway company was taken over by the canal company to form the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company.[18] The section from Newport to Pontypool was opened in June 1852, but the northern connection to Blaenavon could not be completed until part of the old canal had been drained.[19] The completed line opened in 1854.[20]

In 1860 Varteg Collery opened and an incline linked the colliery to Cwmavon railway station.[21]

Sometime in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century, a file factory opened on the site of the Cwmavon Forge and a house was built nearby.[22]

Cwmavon Reservoir was built in the late 19th century by the Pontypool Gas and Water Company to supply water to Abersychan, and also supplies the village.[23][24][25] The reservoir is fed by a spring at its northern end.[26] In 1906 two bodies were discovered in the reservoir in two separate incidents.[27][28]

In 1900 a new brewery for Westlake's of Blaenavon was built in Cwmavon.[29] The site was chosen as the geology of the Afon Lwyd changes nearby to limestone with springs feeding the river, ensuring a good supply of clean water.[30] The design of the five-storey building, by George Adlam & Sons, was acclaimed at the time by the Brewers Journal saying "the plant will be of the most modern description, both scientifically and practically."[29] With its polychromatic tower it was one of Adlam's more flamboyant designs.[31] The site also includes a substantial two storey house with five bays for the manager.[32] By 1907 the brewery had a chain of public houses and in 1911 took over the Castle Brewery in Pontypool.[33]

Transport[edit]

The A4043 road passes through Cwmavon. An hourly bus service (operated by Phil Anslow Coaches) runs Monday to Saturday in daytime between Blaenavon, Pontypool and Cwmbran.[34] There are stops at the reservoir, bridge, and community centre.[35]

The National Cycle Network route 492 passes to the west of Cwmavon.[36] The traffic-free route (part of the Torfaen Leisure Route) is open to walkers, and also horse-riders (Pontypool to Garn Lakes, Blaenavon only).[37]

Amenities[edit]

The village population is very low, but there is a public house close to the village. The other of Cwmavon's pubs, The Westlakes, named after the former brewery of the same name that is nearby. The Westlakes pub was closed 6 years ago and now the nearest one is The Rising Sun in Abersychan or The Crown in the Varteg. The new Cwmavon Village Hall was built nearly 6 years ago.

Recognition and conservation[edit]

In 1973 the 12 cottages at Forge Row (by now converted into 6 cottages) were designated as Grade II* listed buildings.[10][11][12][13][14][15] The cottages were restored in 1989 by the British Historic Buildings Trust and the National Trust.[5]

The Cwmavon Conservation Area was designated in 1994 by Torfaen Borough Council.[38] The Blaenavon Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest was one of the landscapes included when the register was first published in 1998.[39] The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2000.[40]

Recreation[edit]

A three-hour circular walk around Cwmavon highlights the industrial and agricultural heritage of area.[25] The Eastern Valley Heritage Ride (34 miles by bicycle) affords views of Cwmavon from the western side of the valley.[41]. The Chartism Trail is 12 mile car tour around Torfaen with stopping points and optional walks, and downloadable MP3 files with commentaries. One of the stops is Forge Row in Cwmavon.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HLCA 018 Cwmavon Industrial Transport Corridor". The Historic Landscape Character Areas (HLCAs). Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT). Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Our Area". Abersychan and Garndiffaith Local History Group. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ Rattenbury, Gordon (1977). "The Cwm Ffrwd Rail Road". Gwent Local History (42): 12. Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Welsh Journals Online at the National Library of Wales.
  4. ^ Barber 1999, pp. 194-5.
  5. ^ a b Barber, Chris (1999). Eastern Valley - The Story of Torfaen (1st ed.). Abergavenny: Blorenge Books. pp. 193–4. ISBN 1 872730 23 X. OCLC 43459623.
  6. ^ Wakelin, Peter (2011) [2006]. Blaenavon Ironworks and World Heritage Landscape. Design by Ceri Staziker, Photography by Paul Highman (2nd ed.). Cardiff: Cadw. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-85760-293-7. OCLC 858824245.
  7. ^ Malaws, B.A. (21 April 1999). "Blaenavon Railroad; Blaenavon Tramroad". National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW). Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). NPRN 91617. Retrieved 12 April 2016 – via coflein (online database of the NMRW).
  8. ^ Barber 1999, p. 195.
  9. ^ a b "Varteg Ironworks". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  10. ^ a b "1 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 3133. Retrieved 11 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  11. ^ a b "2 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 18586. Retrieved 11 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  12. ^ a b "3 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 5 September 1973 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 18587. Retrieved 11 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  13. ^ a b "4 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 18588. Retrieved 7 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  14. ^ a b "5 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 18589. Retrieved 11 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  15. ^ a b "6 Forge Row, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1973]. Cadw Building ID 18590. Retrieved 7 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  16. ^ a b "Cwmavon House, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1997]. Cadw Building ID: 18584. Retrieved 11 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  17. ^ Barber 1999, p. 179.
  18. ^ Barber 1999, p. 201.
  19. ^ Barber 1999, p. 202.
  20. ^ Cwmavon Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan (PDF) (Report). Torfaen County Borough Council. April 2011. p. 35. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Vipond's Varteg". Welsh Coal Mines. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  22. ^ Hayman, R. (30 January 2003). "Forge House, Cwmavon". National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW). Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). NPRN 270067. Retrieved 12 April 2016 – via coflein (online database of the NMRW).
  23. ^ "Abersychan". Kelly's Directory of Monmouthshire,1901. London: Kelly's Directories. 1901. Retrieved 7 April 2016 – via ancestry.com.
  24. ^ Hayman, R. (22 January 2003). "Cwmavon Reservoir". National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW). Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). NPRN 270002. Retrieved 12 April 2016 – via coflein (online database of the NMRW).
  25. ^ a b "Cwmavon Heritage Trail" (PDF). Torfaen Walks. Torfaen County Borough Council. 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  26. ^ Gascoine, W. (June 2011). "The hydrology of the limestone outcrop north of the Coalfield". In Ford, Trevor D. Limestones and Caves of Wales (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-521-16913-4. OCLC 839354270. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Body in a Reservoir". Evening News and Evening Mail. Cardiff: Walter Alfred Pearce. 26 April 1906. Retrieved 14 April 2016 – via Welsh Newspapers Online.
  28. ^ "The Cwmavon Suicide". Evening News and Evening Mail. Cardiff: Walter Alfred Pearce. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016 – via Welsh Newspapers Online.
  29. ^ a b "Former Westlake's Brewery, Abersychan". Statutory List of Buildings. Cadw. 28 July 1997 [Listed 1997]. Cadw Building ID: 18596. Retrieved 12 April 2016 – via Historic Wales.
  30. ^ Barber 1999, p. 16.
  31. ^ Pearson, Lynn (1999). British Breweries: An Architectural History. London and Rio Grande: Hambledon Press. pp. 69, 113. ISBN 1-85285-191-0. OCLC 42295763. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  32. ^ Newman, John; Lynch, Frances; Manning, William; Hughes, Stephen (2000). "Abersychan: Cwmavon". Gwent/Monmouthshire. Pevsner Architectural Guides (The Buildings of Wales). London: Penguin Books. p. 111. ISBN 0 14 071053 1. OCLC 45327986.
  33. ^ Barber 1999, p. 280.
  34. ^ "30 Blaenavon - Pontypool - Cwmbran" (PDF). Pontypool: Phil Anslow & Sons Coaches. 22 September 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  35. ^ "30 - Blaenavon - Cwmbran via Pontypool". Bus stops and routes across Great Britain. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  36. ^ Cycle Route North Torfaen (PDF) (Map). 1:50,000. Torfaen County Borough. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  37. ^ "Torfaen Leisure Route". Torfaen Walks. Torfaen County Borough Council. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  38. ^ "No. 49925". The London Gazette. 12 November 1984. p. 15277.
  39. ^ Nomination of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape for inclusion in the World Heritage List (PDF). Torfaen County Borough Council. 1999. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-04-18. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  40. ^ Wakelin 2011, inside cover.
  41. ^ Thomas, Alwyn (June 2006). "Ride 21 Eastern Valley Heritage Ride". Bike Rides Around West Gwent and the Borderlands. Abergavenny: Odyn Books. pp. 226–235. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Chartism" (PDF). Torfaen trails and tales. Torfaen County Borough Council. February 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2016.

External links[edit]