Special Weekend: World Heritage Day

It’s one of the highlights of the year at the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. A day when the town comes together to embrace the areas historic past and present day success.

This is a wonderful family and community event so do come along and get involved we can guarantee you’ll have fun!!

Here’s a quick insight about the day…

Dates: 29/06/2013 (11:30-16:00)

Where does it take place?
The event mainly takes place on Broad Street, but there are other sites that are hosting events as well such as the World Heritage Centre and the Workmen’s Hall.

The World Heritage Day

The World Heritage Day

Circus kids always gave fun

Circus kids always gave fun

Are there any fun activities to do?
Plenty! You won’t be able to get enough of all the fun and games that are going on. There are magic shows, crazy golf, pony rides and loads of Victorian games that will keep everyone entertained for hours!

The Brass Band

The Brass Band

How about entertainment?
Live bands will be performing and expect to hear the heritage choir in full voice! As well as music make sure you take your dancing shoes, as there are a wide variety of dance groups going to the World Heritage Day.  Groups include the Starlight Dance Academy and the “Vortex Dance Crew”.

What’s the aim of the day?
The aim of the day is to celebrate the wonderful heritage and history of the Bleanavon World Heritage Site in a carnival like atmosphere.  There are a wonderful fusion of events where Victorian funs and games meets more modern day performances. 

Event Programme – On the Stage at Market Square

- Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary Choir & Brass Band – 11.30am

- Blaenavon Town Band – 11.45am

- Lady Dog Walker Market Square – 1.45pm & 2.45pm

- Vortex Dance Cru – 2.15pm

- Market Square, live music and entertainment

- The Town Crier will be officially opening the event at 11.30am

- Blaenavon Male Voice Choir – 12.15pm

- The Widders – 12.40am, 2.30pm

- See the Picasso Griffiths Caricaturist – 11.30-4pm

At Lion Street, the dance area! 

- Tiger Feet – 11.30am & 2.30pm

- Vortex Dance Cru – 12noon

-  Starlight Academy of Dance – 12.15pm & 2.00pm

-  St Cadoc’s Millennium Chimes – 11.45am & 3.00pm

At the Gap Site, Children’s Entertainment

- Balloon Artist sponsored by Melin Homes from 11.30am onwards

- Story Telling from – 11.30am, 12.30am, 2.30pm & 3.30pm

- Family Fun at Broad Street Car Park

- Me Alexander Magic Show – 11.45pm, 1.45pm & 2.45pm

- Victorian Fun Fair, refreshments & children’s activities from 11.30onwards

Visit the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre for more family entertainment

- Face Painting, Pony Rides, and Crazy Golf – from 11.30am onwards

- Punch and Judy, 11.30am, 12.45pm & 2.45pm

- Blaenavon Junior Band – 2.30pm

-S & H 12noon, 1.30pm & 3.00pm

For more information contact:

Blaenavon Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01495 742333
Email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk


Top 5 Things for Dads to Explore in Blaenavon

Known for its incredible heritage and beautiful Welsh landscape, Blaenavon is as Dad-friendly as you can get! There is no shortage for cycling or walking trails, and history buffs will be in heaven upon seeing the World Heritage Centre and Blaenavon Ironworks.

History at your fingertips 

World Heritage Centre © Forgotten Landscapes

World Heritage Centre © Forgotten Landscapes

History takes on a new form at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre for the most dedicated of history buffs. Interactive touch screens and specialized exhibitions are a great fit for any father looking to learn something. A gift shop ensures you will remember you visit, and a cafe makes sure that your dad will not go hungry!

Cyclist on the path © Forgotten Landscapes

Cyclist on the path © Forgotten Landscapes


Cycling: Get on that bike!

For exploring the countryside, the Torfaen Leisure Route is a moderate cycling trail that anyone can complete. It’s also perfect for walkers and horse-riding and a family-friendly trail for a bit of fresh air. Fathers will find sites abound, as the trail passes the Garn Lakes, the Monmouthshire Canal and many other beautiful local sites. The ride is around 18 miles, perfect for a relaxing day out with dad!

Workmen's Hall © Forgotten Landscapes

Workmen’s Hall © Forgotten Landscapes

The Ironworks: Flex your shoveling muscles. 

For those more interested in history, Blaenavon Ironworks is a more suitable location. Built in 1789, the ironworks have some of the best preserved furnaces in the world. There are also a variety of tours and historical reconstructions that will wow your dad into speechlessness.

Taking a Walk around Blaenavon © Forgotten Landscapes

Taking a Walk around Blaenavon © Forgotten Landscapes

Loop your way around Blaenavon and Abergavenny

On the other hand, a walk outside the town and around the country can be more appealing to those dads with a taste for nature. The Iron Mountain Trail is a beautiful walk that winds around Blaenavon and Abergavenny, showing off some of the landscape’s best features. The trail is around 7 miles long and loops in a circle, so that anyone can see the awe-inspiring valleys, ponds, and Tabletop Mountains.

Beautiful Scenery in Blaenavon © Forgotten Landscapes

Beautiful Scenery in Blaenavon © Forgotten Landscapes

Eating and Sightseeing on Train: The Perfect Combination

But your father might be more eclectic. No problem, one of the coolest things that Blaenavon offers is the Heritage Railway. For a fairly inexpensive price, you can ride on the highest altitude railway in England and Wales to see the sights without much work. Many of the trains have a buffet to refresh yourself with during the journey, and pass gorgeous sites you will remember for a lifetime.

 Upcoming Events:

The Hidden Landscape of Forgeside: Exhibiting from May 1st to July 26th

The Education in Blaenavon: Exhibiting from May 1st to June 30th

Archaeological Dig: Join in from June 12th to June 16th

Archaeology Site Tours: Check out what they’ve uncovered from June 15th to June 16th

World Heritage Day Celebration: Party at Blaenavon on June 29th

What To Do In June at What To Do In June at Blaenavon World Heritage Site!

Summer has finally arrived, and with it, a slew of things to do in Blaenavon that cannot be matched. Whether you enjoy the low key exhibitions about the history and the making of Blaenavon or the nonstop action of an archeological dig, we wait with anticipated breath for both of them to begin!

Summer at Forgotten Landscapes World Heritage Site ©

Summer at Forgotten Landscapes World Heritage Site ©

Learn your history at an exhibition or a talk 

Enjoy a day at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre walking and talking through the history of Blaenavon exhibition. The Hidden Landscape of Forgeside began in May, but is still available to see. You cannot miss learning about the hidden history of Forgeside and the story of Aaron Brute’s Bridge, and best of all – it’s free.

The Education in Blaenavon is another exhibition that remains a must-see. Although it began in May, it ends on June 30th, so time is running short! A devastatingly interesting exhibition, you will learn about the history of education and the St. Peter’s School, opened in 1816.

The Blaenavon World Heritage Centre hosts another Talk on June 11th, Life on the Dole in Monmouthshire before 1834. How was Poor Law Relief delivered? What do we really know about Law before 1834? Your chance to find out awaits.

THE BIG JUNE DIG: Unearth the secrets of four ruined cottages

Digging up history! ©

Digging up history! ©

Spend a few days attending an archaeological dig with an expert at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre from June 12th – June 16th! The site of four ruined cottages promises to offer information on how they lived, what is preserved, how did they live on the land and more.

If you don’t want to actually excavate, you’re in luck! From June 15th through June 16th, there will be Archaeology Site Tours. Find out what the group has uncovered and learn about some of the customs of age-old occupants.



Festival time at Blaenavon World Heritage Site ©

Festival time at Blaenavon World Heritage Site ©

TIME TO PARTY! Attend the Annual World Heritage Day Celebration

Join the celebration of World Heritage Day from 11.30am-4pm in the Blaenavon Town Centre. Don’t miss the heritage costume parade, pony rides, live music and street entertainment on June 29th.

The Big JUNE Dig!

Dr Amelia PannettJune offers another exciting month with Forgotten Landscapes project at the Blaenavon World Heritage Site.  There will be one of the biggest archaeology digs taking place this year.  So we thought we’d have a quick chat with Dr Amelia Pannet who is leading the dig and find out what the community archaeology dig is all about.

Hill Pits Workday

Hill Pits Workday

The Community Archaeology Dig  on 12th – 16th June and is overseen by Dr Amelia Pannett MIFA, who’s the Project Manager for Archaeology Wales Ltd.



1. What is your role as part of the Community Archeology Dig?

Church and Archaeology sites 189The community archaeology dig forms part of a course that I (in my role as Project Manager at Archaeology Wales) am running for Forgotten Landscape Project (FLP). The course aims to train volunteers in the skills they need to run their own research project and how to monitor sites within the WHS to ensure their long-term preservation. For the dig itself, my colleague Sian and I will be training the volunteers in all aspects of excavation, recording and surveying.

2. How and when did you begin teaming up with the Forgotten Landscapes project?

I first started working with the FLP volunteers in early 2012 when we were compiling a Conservation Management Plan for the site of Hill Pits. This involved recording the different features of the site as they survive, looking at possibilities for future work and monitoring the features to ensure they do not deteriorate in the future. This initial work leads on to a programme of small-scale clearance at the site, revealing the footprint of part of the cottages associated with the mine, making it easier for visitors to understand.

3. Why is the Blaenavon area of such archeological importance?

Church and Archaeology sites 193Blaenavon is unique! The landscape contains a huge number of sites relating to all aspects of the industrial use of the area – from the very early scourings to extract coal to the modern workings at Big Pit. Aside from the industrial sites, for which Blaenavon is best known, there is a lot of pre-industrial archaeology, ranging from prehistoric burial cairns to the small hill farms that existed in the landscape before mining and ironworking came to the area, allowing us to see the evolution of the use of the landscape. The preservation of sites is also significant – although most are in a ruinous condition, a large number of post-medieval and industrial sites are still recognisable as houses or mine workings, which is fantastic for visitors who can visualise how people would have lived and worked in the landscape.

4. Could you briefly outline exactly what you’re working towards in June?

We are investigating the site of four ruined cottages and their associated outbuildings, fields and water supply. The cottages sit within one of the main areas of early mining in the landscape and date to at least 1820. We want to learn more about the development of the site – how did the occupants of the houses live and work the surrounding land, what did they have to do to ensure a fresh water supply and where are they likely to have worked. Our research so far has involved looking at old maps and documents and we have also started a survey of the site, producing a drawn and photographic record of its current state of preservation. This information will allow us to put together a series of research questions that we will then aim to answer through the excavation of a small number of trenches.

For more information see below or visit Blaenavon Visitor Centre:
Forgotten Landscapes Dig

Catch a Falling Star at Blaenavon, World Heritage Site


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Here’s a wonderful event happening on Friday 10th, so why not roll up to the “Whistle Inn” near Blaenavon to discover the stars and explore the galaxy, using a portable planetarium which will be focused on interesting phenomena in the … Continue reading

Springtime Things to do at Forgotten Landscapes

With spring finally in the air, April is the perfect time to discover the abundance of wildlife around Blaenavon. With fresh buds on the trees and famous Welsh daffodils in the meadows, local wildlife takes its cue from nature and makes its spectacular reappearance. We take a look at three great activities, perfect for flora and fauna enthusiasts.

Storming around Carn-y-Gorfydd

Spring at Forgotten Landscapes

Spring at Forgotten Landscapes

Enjoy an energetic, 4km circular walk or cycle around Carn-y-Gorfydd, meaning “site of the battle”, will introduce visitors to the great variety of plants and animals in the area. Spring offers the opportunity to ramble or ride through meadows carpeted with violets and oxalis. On the banks you’ll find the intense hues of bluebells, campion and white stichwort. Be careful though! Legend has it that if you pick the white stichwort you’ll bring on a storm.

A great chance to meet the locals.  Along the glacier-carved slopes, you’re sure to come across some of the areas avian residents. Declared a site of Special Scientific Interest, the beech woods and meadows provide the perfect springtime habitat for redstarts, pied flycatchers and green woodpeckers with their memorable, laughing call. Bring your bird watching book and you won’t miss a thing! More information can be found here. 

The Greening of the Garn Lakes

Visitors  enjoying Garn Lake

Visitors enjoying Garn Lake

One of the most remarkable sites around Blaenavon, the Garn Lakes offer visitors the chance to see first-hand the true regenerative ability of nature. Covering 40 acres of lakes and grasslands, the area was once covered in spoil tips and old colliery workings. Thanks to an extensive land reclamation scheme, it was reopened in 1997 as an area offering visitors outstanding views and a host of interesting local residents from the plant and animal world. It’s since been declared a local nature reserve.

Get your binoculars out.

A great starting point for walks around the area, the Garn Lakes is an ornithologists dream. Springtime brings visitors from Africa in the form of the Common Sandpiper and Willow Warbler. Around the lakes you’re also likely to see Tufted Ducks, Skylarks, Snipes, Redshanks and Little Grebes- a must-see for twitchers!

A short walk: Rare fauna on the Coity Tip Trail

A walking along one of Forgotten Landscapes nature trails

A walking along one of Forgotten Landscapes nature trails

A more genteel 1km (15 mins) springtime wander will take you through what might appear to be an unusual place to spot wildlife in this corner of Wales.  As the name suggests, the Coity Tip trail takes you round a former coal tip. Don’t let the history of this former ironstone mine fool you though! With the warmth of spring, visitors will be able to spot common lizards soaking up the rays on the boardwalk. In the UK these cold-blooded reptiles are rare and can only be seen between March and October. Taking your eyes off the boardwalk, you might also see buzzards searching for prey in the skies overhead. These birds are the most successful birds http://www.freepressseries.co.uk/news/pontypool_news/pontypool_news/10322520.Blaenavon_statue_of_rugby_legend_Ken_Jones_unveiled/ prey in Wales, with the abundance of rain providing a plethora of earthworms to eat. If you listen carefully you’re also likely to hear the piping call of the Meadow Pipit, an upland bird, whose ‘parachute’ flight is a common sight in the upland areas of Wales.

A Fun Event & a detailed guide the Coity Tip Trail please see the link click here. 


Forgotten Landscapes Favourite Five Festival Walks

DSC_0018Here’s a festival that really offers something quite unique and different compared to other walking  festivals.

It’s a celebration of discovery where the expert guides take participants out around Forgotten Landscapes on the specific themed walks that are a little bit interesting.

The walking festival is a perfect way of understanding what is going on around Forgotten Landscapes.  It gives participants a chance to understand the wonderful history of Wales, with walks that follow old miners routes and various heritage trails.

With walks costing just £3 each, it’s a great feel good weekly activity.  So here are our top five picks that we think will be great.

The Blorenge by Visit Wales ©

The Blorenge by Visit Wales ©

A walk to learn a thing or two….
Discover the Ironscape , on Saturday 6th April, 11.00am – 2.00pm
6.4km / 4 miles / Moderate

This a unique opportunity to discover the archaeology in the landscape and find out how all the raw materials were supplied to the Blaenavon Ironworks.  The walk is led by the well known Blaenau-Gwent County Borough Council Heritage Officer Frank Olding, and popular local historian and author John Van Laun.

Discover more about places around you…
The Blorenge Rocks, on Monday 8th April, 10.30am – 4.00pm, 11.3km / 7 miles / Moderate

This is a lovely walk that offers incredible sights as well as some interesting information.  Join curator Tom Sharpe of the National Museum of Wales for a fascinating walk exploring the scenery and geological history of the Blorenge landscape.

Achievements of the past…
upland10Human Endeavours, on Wednesday 10th April, 10.00am – 1.00pm, 6.5km / 4 miles / Moderate
Step back in time and walk past the hidden gems of the landscape that are the evidence of great human endeavour and industry. See the best surviving example of a late eighteenth century ironworks in Britain, taking in old tram roads, pits and ironstone scourings. Led by Torfaen ‘Walk for Health’ walk leaders.

Spectacular walks with a hint of history…
Cwm Ffrwd Heritage Trail, on Tuesday 9th April, 10.00am – 3.00pm , 12.9km / 8 miles / Moderate
Take in spectacular views as you explore the Nant Ffrwd valley and visit the Dog Stone memorial via Coity Mountain. Learn about the history and hear humorous stories of past residents of the area with your guides the World Heritage Site Volunteer Rangers.

Guided walks 1More than just a walk….
Moorland Magic, on Friday 12th April, 2.00pm – 4.00pm,  6km / 3 miles / Moderate

Take a tour of the beautiful heather moorland near Blaenavon and find out what is being done to protect it for the future. Led by the Forgotten Landscapes Partnership Commons Officer. Meet: Fox Hunter Car Park, SO 263107



MORE INFORMATION ON THE FESTIVAL: Please remember that booking is essential and that all walks have a charge of £3 which should be paid at the time of booking.

Booking is essential and there is a small cost of £3 to help cover the running costs of the festival, which is organised by volunteers. Please pay in advance when booking by phone or in person at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre (01495 742333).


Great Weekend Event! Discover Woodland Archaeology On Saturday.

Here’s a wonderful weekend opportunity to discover woodland archaeology this Saturday at Forgotten Landscapes

It’s fascinating to think that once trees covered every valley and mountain in Wales.  Woodlands have always had an influence on the history of Wales and are a huge part of its cultural heritage.

The Clydach Gorge and the woodlands of Forgotten Landscapes ©

The Clydach Gorge and the woodlands of Forgotten Landscapes ©

Around Forgotten Landscapes there is plenty of surviving archaeological evidence with the most obvious being earthworks and old structures.

Some areas of woodlands have been left relatively undisturbed. There are some woods in the Forgotten Landscape area, which contain ditches and banks that can help us understand how our ancestors managed the land.  Lots of woodlands have great archaeological value in their own right.

Woodlands in the Forgotten Landscapes area were key to the rise and progression of the industrial revolution.  Timber was essential for the mines and other industries.

So this Saturday how about going on a tour around Forgotten Landscapes to discover the fascinating history and clear evidence of the woodlands in the area.


This minibus tour with several short walks will explore archaeological features that relate to past woodland management in the Blaenavon area.

Date:  23rd February 2013

2 miles / 3 km / Moderate (some steep ground)

Bring: Walking boots and waterproof clothing

Telephone: 01495 742333 (booking essential).

Cost: £3 per person