Cwm Colliery & Abernant Tunnel
Opposite the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Village, accessed
by a layby from the A470, lies an unassuming stretch of land
popular with local walkers which would have been a hive of activity
in the 19th Century. The now silent branchlines and tramways
have become wooded tracks and paths which will introduce you to
some significant treasured remnants from Merthyr's Industrial
The Abernant Tunnel runs under Penylan Hill adjacent to
Waunwyllt Farm and was constructed to take the Vale of Neath
Railway from Merthyr Tydfil to Abernant Halt (for Aberdare) and
Travelling 650 feet below the mountain top, regular traffic did
not pass through until 1853, and, closing in 1963, the impressive
structure is now abandoned.
For those prepared to do a little searching, the remains of Cwm
Colliery and associated buildings can also be seen, and are well
worth a visit. Once part of the Cyfarthfa Works, it was sunk under
the management of Robert Thompson Crawshay in 1845.
This shallow pit worked the steam coal seams, which run close to
the surface in this area at the northern edge of the coalfield.
From the Inspector of Mines list 1896, there were 681 men
employed underground and 99 on the surface, producing Steam
An explosion of firedamp took place on 14 may 1900 which
resulted in serious injuries but no fatalities. The Home Office
Report advised that Most of the fuses employed in the mining
industry at that time were distinctly dangerous.
By 1908, total of 1,030 worked at this pit.
It closed down in December 1910, but was retained as a
watercourse until abandoned in 1924.
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