Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising

Local History

Latest Story

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 will be updated when more in-formation becomes available.


Helen Morgan


More Stories

VE Day at Home

May 4th, 2020

On VE Day 75 years ago, people took to the streets to dance and celebrate the end of the war. This year, huge street parties and events were planned for the weekend beginning 8th May to remember that day 75 years ago. Unfortunately, due to the current global Coronavirus pandemic, many of these celebrations have […]

War in Wales

May 4th, 2020

We may think times are often tough, especially at the moment, but for those of us who were not around to remember, think of what war must have been like. Rationing, bombing, conscription, the loss of a son or husband, evacuation – these were some of the experiences and issues facing those who lived through […]

On the Tourist Trail

April 9th, 2020

People have been visiting or passing through Abergavenny since the Middle Ages. Helen Morgan from Abergavenny Local History Society reports. Before the railway arrived in 1850, tourists arrived on horseback or by stage coach. The roads were poor but travel they did. The first recorded trip was by Giraldus Cambrensis, Archdeacon of Brecon, accompanying Archbishop […]

The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals

November 8th, 2018

First World War propaganda prints by celebrated artists of the day go on display at Abergavenny Museum & Chepstow Museum: Now – 6 January 2019- Admission Free As soldiers marched to war in summer 1914, most of them expected to be back home within a few weeks and surely by Christmas. But instead, the fighting […]

Celebrating Monmouthshire Women in Agriculture: 1900-2018

April 11th, 2018

Real life experiences from the past & present and visions for the future. This is the theme of an event on Saturday 28th April at the Abergavenny Community Centre writes Katrina Gass. The event will raise the question “What has been women’s pivotal role as farmers & food producers over a century in Monmouthshire – […]

Paradise Regained

January 11th, 2017

Middleton Hall’s landscape is being restored to its Regency glory. Helen Morgan from Abergavenny Local History Society reports It is now better known as the site of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, but Middleton Hall was once a magnificent mansion with one of the finest waterparks in Britain. Its story begins in the early […]

Ancient Egypt Comes To Abergavenny

November 4th, 2016

Writing for Eternity: Decoding Ancient Egypt – Joint exhibition with the British Museum opens at Abergavenny Museum and Castle Visitors to Abergavenny Museum this autumn will be able to explore one of the world’s great civilizations thanks to a new partnership with the British Museum. The British Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan has […]

Gunter Mansion

September 8th, 2016

The Gunter Mansion in Cross Street, Abergavenny, is a Grade 2* listed building that has an important place in the history of Abergavenny, and in the story of Catholicism in post reformation Monmouthshire. Yet visitors to the town, and even those who have lived here for many years, may have no idea of the significance […]

History of The National Eisteddfod of Wales

July 16th, 2016

The National Eisteddfod is the largest and oldest celebration of Welsh culture, unique throughout Europe as each year it visits a different area of Wales. Eisteddfod literally means a sitting (eistedd = to sit), perhaps a reference to the hand-carved chair traditionally awarded to the best poet in the ceremony ‘The Crowning of the Bard’. […]

Please support our local businesses