The 15.2 kilometre Trevithick Trail commemorates the first
journey by a steam locomotive to pull a load on rails in 1804, the
precursor of the Railway Age which changed the world in the 19th
By the beginning of the 1800s Merthyr Tydfil was developing from
a rural community into the Iron Capital of the World with its four
iron works at Cyfarthfa, Dowlais, Penydarren and Plymouth.
It would continue to grow and by the middle of the century
became the largest town in Wales with a population of more than
50,000 inhabitants as the four great iron works continued to
On February 21, 1804, the Penydarren locomotive, designed and
built by the Cornish inventor Richard Trevithick, pulled a load of
10 tons of iron and 70 men nine miles down the Taff Valley - all
for a bet.
The historic journey went from the Penydarren works to the
Navigation where it joined the Glamorgan Canal so linking the
industrial heart of Merthyr Tydfil with the port of Cardiff and the
rest of the world.
Along the trail markers point out the historical significance of
various locations as you follow the track along the nine-mile
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