The Rhymney Valley Today
At the peak of the coal industry in around 1913, there were 40 coalmines along the length of the Rhymney Valley. Yet within 80 years the last collieries, such as Penallta , were closing down for good, leaving thousands without jobs, and scars across the landscape.
Take a journey through the Rhymney Valley today from the north towards Cardiff, and you will be hard pressed to find reminders of the areas industrial past. The slag heaps have been removed and country parks created – from Parc Cwm Darran with camping and cycle routes, through to the newly created Parc Coetir Bargod , to Parc Penallta with the High Point Observatory and the inspired earth sculpture of Sultan the Pit Pony. Yet, if you take a trip to Senghenydd towards the south of the valley, you will find one of the most poignant reminders of the areas past - the Aber Valley Heritage Project which tells the stories of the mining disasters at Universal Colliery, including what is still the largest UK mining disaster, where 439 men died in 1913.
The Winding House , the former Elliot Colliery, is now the base to explore the areas heritage, and the railways still make their way as far north as Rhymney. The communities of towns like Rhymney, New Tredegar and Ystrad Mynach are still strong, whilst significant investment has been made in new housing and facilities such as schools and colleges. Also throughout the valley you’ll find some fantastic public art – like the Twisted Chimney to the north of Bute Town, and the benches and sculpture in memory of Idris Davies outside the library in Rhymney.
One of the most ambitious projects that will dramatically change the valley is Bargoed Big Idea - a major regeneration programme which has started with the new road network and developments such as Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr
The Rhymney Valley has retained its community focus, and now has a diverse economy, as well as a great range of facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy – including:
- Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk
- Llancaiach Fawr
- Gelligaer Roman Fort and the historical Gelligaer Commons
- A wide range of walks or cycle routes that criss cross the valley
- Caerphilly Castle
Bute Town is just 100m from A465, on A469. Leave A465 at The Twisted Chimney!!
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