july 28th - a bryn walking guided walk
BLAENAVON INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE: THE IRON MOUNTAIN TRAIL - PART 1
This Blaenavon Circular Walk (Part 1) is approximately 11.5km with about 300m of ascent and I led this guided walk yesterday, with three participants.
In November 2000 the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape was inscribed as a World Heritage Site due to it being 'one of the finest surviving examples in the world of a landscape created by coal mining and iron making'.
The World Heritage site offers many spectacular trails with this Iron Mountain Trail (Part 1) offering the highest section of the trails on offer with many spectacular viewing points.
pen-ffordd-goch (keeper's pond) at so 254 197 is the starting point for this trail
the iron mountain trail - part 1
We met at Keeper's Pond and set off for this 5hr walk with myself as Leader and three participants. Keeper's Pond was the final of three reservoirs or ponds built to supply water to the forges and works down at Garn Ddyrys. Descending from Keeper's Pond we reached the wooden footbridge at the head of the valley of Cwm Ifor. I'd managed the construction of this footbridge back in 2009 whilst employed as Area Manager (East) for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.
Beyond the footbridge we passed through the ruins of Garn Ddyrys Foundary which produced the 'pig' iron from Blaenavon Ironworks for 50 years up until the 1860's.
cwm ifor and garn ddyrys foundry
Crossing the road, we joined Hill's Tramroad and paused for coffee at the one remaining ruin from what was part of Garn Ddyrys Row where, in 1851, a census recorded a population of 300 people.
Continuing along Hill's Tramroad we saw stone sleepers that would have held the rails in place and passed the 'cut & shut' tunnel which the tramroad used to pass under a hillside spur. Beyond the head of the Llanfoist Incline, bracken hindered our progress but we reached The Punchbowl where we enjoyed our lunch. The Punchbowl is a Woodland Trust Reserve with a large pond where Canada Geese breed every year and raise their chicks here.
After lunch a steep climb took us up onto the open hillside where we enjoyed views to the north of Ysgyryd Fawr.
Reaching the Blorenge Trig Point (559m) we paused for a group photo before continuing on to the Foxhunter Car Park to visit the memorial for the Olympic gold medal showjumper 'Foxhunter' before returning to Keeper's Pond.
It's worth calling in at the Visitor Centre just down the road on the way into Blaenavon to learn more about the area and where there are also toilets and a cafe. A range of free walking leaflets are available and many stories are told in the interpretation centre.
Following on from retirement, more time will be available for hill and mountain walking on a personal basis with friends.