We will maintain each and every one, specifically creating the design of our scheme to embrace, appreciate and value them. However, even though hundreds of years of neglect have taken their toll, which means many structures have deteriorated, we are determined to reclaim our historic legacies and restore them.

Cyfarthfa Balance Pond and Leat

It is believed that the pond dates from the 1830s when it was constructed as part of a hydrological system used to feed water into water balance mechanisms used at mining pits in the locality.

Running alongside the Cyfarthfa Canal, the physical remains of the feature consist of an earth and stone dam built on three sides on an east facing slope. The inner face of the dam is stone-revetted and there are several features such as a stone lined sluice and brick lined spillway. The pond and leat are set within dense woodland crossed by a footpath that follows the edge of the watercourse. The mine is historically closely-associated with various elements of the surrounding, former industrial landscape. The pond fed water to several mines situated along its length including Cwm Pit and Lower Colliers Row. The pond requires extensive clearing to restore it.

Cyfarthfa Canal Level

The canal was one of the first generation of canals in Wales and dates from 1777-8. It carried small ‘tub boats’ and was used to transport coal from levels dug into the slopes along the east side of the site, to the Cyfarthfa Ironworks. The canal ran from roughly north-south along a sinuous route through the east side of the site, from Cwm Pit and the Canaid brook in the south north to Cyfarthfa, a route of approximately two miles. The canal fell out of use by around 1835-1840 and most of the course was subsequently covered by spoil tips and railways which superseded its role. Few parts remain extant, although part of a former lock wall survives to the north of the scheduled monument. The scheduled parts consist of a length of the canal which survives a large ditch with embanked walls, and a similar section with a channel off-shooting to the west to access a level mouth and stone-lined tunnel. The stonelined tunnel includes parts of a ruined building located at its entrance, ventilation gate fittings, a ventilation flue and a stone-lined access hole from the surface. Both parts of the former canal are dry and are heavily overgrown with vegetation. In the late 19th century, following the introduction of the long-wall technique of mining the Canal Level was reopened. By 1900 - 1919 it was connected via tramways to a loading area at Lower Collier’s Row to the south. A tramway, passing under the Cwm Pit Railway, carried spoil from the mine to tips to the east. It is likely that at least part of the structure of the level entrance dates from this period of re-use.

Grade II listed Base of Chimney at Cwm Pit

The building dates from the 1820-1840s and originally supported a very tall square stack situated to the south of the engine house at the Cwm Pit Colliery. The chimney base is constructed in large rockfaced stone squared blocks with a stepped upper part below the demolished chimney stack. Each side of the building has a large arched stoking hole. Three of these are lined with yellow brick and one with masonry. It is theorised in the listing description that the yellow brick may have replaced masonry. The building is set within dense woodland adjacent to a footpath. It has a close association with the surrounding upstanding and archaeological remains of Cwm Pit, which are a scheduled monument. However, the vegetation that surrounds the building is dense. It encroaches upon the building, potentially damaging its masonry and lessening the degree to which the monument can be experienced as an element of the wider historic environment.

Vale of Neath Railway Cutting and Tunnel Portal

The entrance is constructed in coursed, rough faced Pennant sandstone with the arch framed by ranking buttresses and made up of six courses of yellow engineered brick. The cutting and tunnel were designed by Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel and when finished in 1853 was the longest railway tunnel in Wales. The tunnel is blocked by a metal panelled modern gate, with a spiked top. The cutting and tunnel are set within a deep incision surrounded by dense woodland. 


The monument is hard to experience from outside the cutting, the best experience is had from the approach along the former railway track to the north-east. The cutting is particularly visible in views from a road bridge which cross the railway, immediately adjacent to the scheduled area to the north-east. The monument is historically associated with the remains of the railway to the north-east which includes several stone-built bridges and a former junction.

Cwm Glo Chapel

The chapel was one of the earliest non-conformist chapels in South Wales. Following the restoration of King Charles II, Merthyr Tydfil was a centre for Puritan Dissenters. Persecution of the movement led the faithful to hold their meetings in a barn at the secluded Cwm Glo Farm. The farm no longer exists but was located to the north-east of the chapel. The Toleration Act of 1689 allowed the practice of their faith in public, and, the following year, a chapel was erected near Cwm Glo on the banks of the Nant Llwyn-yr-eos. The chapel was a central place for Christian nonconformity in north Glamorgan until 1749 when the lease expired and a new chapel was built in the town of Merthyr. 

The remains consist of a rectangular stonewalled yard containing the chapel, with the walls of the chapel with an extension on the south-east side. The remains are set in a hollow on the south side of the steep-sided valley of the Nant Llwyn-yr-eos, a remote location 500m from Heolgerrig. The valley, and much of the surrounding landscape, is densely wooded and the remains are fairly inaccessible, approached by a steep overgrown path. The wider landscape contains numerous remains from the 18th and 19th century industry including shafts, spoil tips and former tramways. It also includes the remains of the pre-industrial agricultural landscape including the remains of stone walls, representing former field boundaries, and, the ruined remains of several post-medieval farms and cottage such as Pen-y-coedcae, Llwyn-yr-eos and Cwm Glo Farm.

Cwm Pit and Head of Railway

Cwm Pit is one of the larger mining complexes within the site, with some of the best preserved upstanding remains. Mine working at Cwm Pit dates from the late 18th century. It was the location of the terminus of the Cyfarthfa Canal which served to connect surface coal working in the locality with the Cyfarthfa Ironworks. At the western end of the scheduled monument area is a well-preserved former water balance pond defined by an earthwork. In 1843, a deep pit (with steam powered mechanics) was sunk at Cwm Pit which eventually reached to 150 yards, one of the deepest in the region. Unlike at present, the mine was set within a relatively open landscape and would have been highly visible. The mine workings were accessed by the Cwm Pit Railway, a narrow-gauge railway that ran from its terminus at Cwm Pit to Cyfarthfa ironworks, replacing the function of the earlier canal. The line was constructed in the mid-19th century and was an important spinal route through the site; a major haulage route for iron and coal that influenced the subsequent industrial development of the locality.

Cwm Du Air Shaft and Fan

This site consists of a mechanical colliery ventilation fan and shaft associated with 19th and 20th century mine workings at Cwm Du. The fan mechanism is contemporary with buildings associated with the Cwm Du drift mine located to the north. The shaft is set on a low spoil mound with a circular shaft at its centre, lined in brick and stone, and currently capped with gravel. Beside the shaft is the fan box, set on metal foundations, it consists of an iron boxed structure with sheet metal inlet tube and, inside, the axel and blades of the fan. The fan is set within a relatively open area characterised by an extent of rough pasture, populated by small trees.

Black Pins Early Ironstone Workings

The works date from the early 19th century up until the 1870s, after which (as stated by CADW) the site was abandoned for a similar operation at Winch Fawr. The works targeted surface outcrops of ironstone using primitive open cast mining techniques such as patching and scouring with water. The irregular scheduled monument area encompasses an uneven landscape of steep sided finger tips and former open cast excavation pits. The mine workings were accessed by a tramway from the north-east which is visible as a low earthwork. The locations of other former tramways are identifiable within the monument area.

Cwm Glo Pit and Ironstone Tip

The Cwm Glo Pit was one of the larger operations in the West Rhydycar mining area, and the site, producing both coal and ironstone from a shaft and mining levels to the south-east. It is thought that the shaft was operated from the 1830s or 40s up until 1905. The site sits on the edge of, and is surrounded on the west and east sides by large spoil tips. The proposed scheduled monument encompasses the head of an incline railway which connected the mine at Cwm Glo to the Cwm Pit Railway, several stone sleepers, and a possible older feature, predating the Cwm Glo shaft - a small pond and leat. It is theorised by CADW that this is an early ‘hushing pond’ used as part of late 18th and early 19th century scouring operations in the Cwm Glo valley. The valley is densely wooded but the scheduled area has a fairly-open setting, consisting of grassed spaces, although bracken is prolific in the summer months.