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The Valleys, Industry, Mining and more.....

Blaenavon Museum Heritage Park

South Wales is probably best know for industry and coal mining.

During the 1800's many coal mines were opened up throughout the Valley's of south Wales, they continued to mine coal from these pits for over a hundred years. The last pit (Tower Colliery) closed in 2006.

The Big Pit National Coal Museum was opened in 1983 and provides an excellent resource for learning about and seeing what life must have been like for the pit workers.

Port Talbot Steel Works

Many steel and iron working plants grew up in south Wales along side the mines and supplied the needed materials for building and maintaining the mine shafts. One plant that is still visible and operational is the big steel works at Port Talbot - quite a spectacle at night.

Some of the sites once occupied by pits and industry have now returned to nature, many of them now being SSSI's (Sites of Speical Scientific Interest). Others have been transformed into parks and recreational areas and on visiting these sites you would be hard pressed to realise their such recent industrial history.

Aberavon Beach, south Wales

Nowadays South Wales is fast becoming an attractive area for recreational holidays and sight seeing. Many new buisinesses are now operating in the area and offering some great day's out.

You could visit the Penderyn Whisky Distillery at Aberdare and take a tour of the workings whilst sampling some of their fine Welsh Whisky. There is also Caerphilly Castle, a fine example of a medieval defensive castle. The Town of Blaenafon is also worth a visit and includes attractions such as The Big Pit, Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, Blaenafon Community Heritage & Cordell Museum, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, Blaenafon Cheddar Company & Mountain Tours, plus the Blaenavon Ironworks.

Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire

To the east of the Valley's you will find Monmouthshire, well known for the Wye Valley, Tintern Abbey and Offa's Dyke.

A favorite holiday haunt since the early victorian times, the Wye Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty which is apparent as soon as you enter the valley. Tall wooded hills delve sharply down to the River Wye and picturesque villages dot the flood plane.

Tintern Abbey dating from the 1100's sits in a stunning opening in the valley floor on the Welsh side of the Wye and must have been a spectacular building during its occupied time. The ruinous remains are quite awe enspiring and paint quite a vivid picture of how grand a structure this abbey must have once been.

Castell Coch, Cardiff

South west of the Wye valley, you will find Cardiff - Wales' Capital City. Originally an Iron Age settlement Cardiff has grown to become the tenth largest city in the UK. Around the year 75 CE the Roman's built a fort on the banks of the River Taff, presumably to keep themselves safe from any attacks by the Celtic natives.
Some one thousand years later, Cardiff Castle was built over the site of the Roman fort and has stood its ground until the present day. During the 1300's Cardiff became a busy port and stayed that way until recent years. The old docks have now been rejuvenated and house trendy flats and appartments.

Penarth Victorian Pier

Penarth is some 7 miles south of Cardiff. This seaside town, once a very popular Victorian holiday destination is now popular with Cardiff commuters and a relativley expensive place to live. There is a pier with a very grand entrance, a marina and many Georgian and Victorian buildings still grace the town.
Penarth is also a very popular weekend destination with many restaurants, bars and cafe's to frequent.
Scene's from the BBC's Dr Who series have also been filmed in Penarth.

Barry Island Beach

Barry some 9 miles south west of Penarth and probably most famous for its recent use in the TV series 'Gavin and Stacey' has history dating back to the Middle Stone Age. Flint tools and polished stone axe heads have been discovered around Barry and there is archaeological evidence of barrows, iron age forts and farmsteads at many sites in the area.
Barry also has a good beach and a fun fair park.

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