Part of Forgotten Landscapes Project Wins Prestigious Award

From the very start, the Blaenavon World Heritage Site & Forgotten Landscapes project has been about a community coming together to help improve and preserve a unique area in the United Kingdom.  

It has been a success thanks to the community of volunteers, not only from the Bleanavon area, but as far away as the midlands and south Wales who have united to make it happen.

Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal in Autumn ©

Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal in Autumn ©

One part of the project has been building awareness for the historic contribution of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.  Trails, signage, special benches have been put up along the canal by the project especially to celebrate the 200 year anniversary.  Last year also saw a whole load of unique events taking place along the entire stretch of canal which the project helped organise.

An Award at the 2013 National Waterway Awards!

So when the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal’s 200th anniversary celebration program was nominated for the ‘Waterways Renaissance Award’, it was a wonderful surprise when the canal won!
The Forgotten Landscapes Project’s contribution to the celebration played an important role to the anniversary celebration so it was a very proud moment for all involved.

Highlights of 2012 anniversary events included the lighting of the entire canal and “Beacons to the sea” where a cask of ale was taken from Brecon to Newport.

So if you’d like to learn more about the canal and it’s history click here for more information.

We Need Your Help to Make a Difference!

Forgotten Landscapes LogosWith the Forgotten Landscapes Project coming to an end a research project is currently being carried out.  Here’s a chance to win £10 of vouchers for the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre’s Cafe, all you have to do is fill out a survey about the project to be in for a chance to win.  SIMPLY COMPLETE THIS SIMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE:

The prize draw will be done via Facebook, all you have to do is like the picture.

As you may know the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape has been classified as a World Heritage Site since 2000.

After a consultation period from 2007-08, three years of Heritage Lottery funding was secured to further develop and enhance the area from 2010-2013 and is known as the ‘Forgotten Landscapes Project’. Part of the conditions of the funding, was to develop an exit strategy to identify on how to continue into the future.

The Countryside and Community Research Institute and Commons Vision, have been commissioned to develop a strategy that will aim to identify and develop long term options that build upon the  activity and successes of the Forgotten Landscapes Project.

As part of their work, an online questionnaire has been produced to allow any volunteers who have been involved with the Forgotten Landscapes Project an opportunity to feedback and shape the strategy for the area. The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete – is entirely confidential, and can be found at:

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who has been involved in the Forgotten Landscapes Project to comment upon it and help influence the future direction of its legacy. For many local people this has become an important and beneficial aspect of their community so we welcome people to get involved and for them to encourage others to do the same.

The survey will remain open until 12th June.

TCCRI Staff Group

TCCRI Staff Group

More about who is doing the consultation 

The Countryside & Community Research Institute It is the largest specialist rural research centre in the UK. It has expertise in all aspects of research in policy and planning for the countryside and the environment of the UK and Europe. It is based at the University of Gloucestershire. More information can be on their website

Commons Vision is a consultancy firm that aims to provide practical solutions to common land and ecological issues through our consultation, ecological, legal, management and environmental services. It is based in Southgate, Swansea. More information can be found on their website

New Super Fun Bike Track Comes To Blaenavon World Heritage Site

Wednesday 22nd May – 4:00 PM
“The Camel’s Back Bike Track” close to Keeper’s Pond -A Grand Opening!

The Forgotten Landscapes World Heritage Site project has been behind the development of a world-class biking track.

A new BMX & MTB track has been built at the World Heritage Site!

A new BMX & MTB track has been built at the World Heritage Site!

A wonderful new biking facility called the Camel’s Back Pump Track has been built for the people of Blaenavon, over an old coal spoil area.

The new ‘pump track’ has been designed by one of Britain’s most famous “elite level mountain bike rider’s” Rowan Sorrell.

Here’s a quick insight to what will be unveiled and why you should head there at 4:00 pm 22nd May 2013.
The new Mountain Bike Skills Track will be opened with a demonstration by biking legend Jason Carter.

How did the project come about?
The Forgotten Landscapes Project has chosen to create this facility after working closely with Blaenavon’s youth groups.  The project found out what they wanted in terms of outdoor recreation and this pump track was the clear winner.

The Forgotten Landscapes project sees this as an opportunity to provide something, which would allow people to engage with young people through offering fun activities.



Where can you find Camel’s Back Pump Track?
The Camel’s Back is an area of mining spoil close to Keeper’s Pond.  It is easily accessible from the B4246 and the Elgam Estate.  It is owned by Torfaen CCBC.

What was happening in the area before?
Irresponsible use by scramble bikes has, over several years, created tracks and gullies across and down the spoil.  Use of motorised biking in particular causes considerable erosion of the surface of the spoil and is also illegal.  Left unmanaged, this damage will be exacerbated by the effects of high rainfall and frost heave.



How will this benefit the area?
The project will focus on part of this area and attempt to resolve the erosion problem while working with the community to eradicate scramble bike use and encourage the use of mountain / BMX bikes.  It hopes local children will benefit by having new recreational activities on their doorstep and helping them stay fit and healthy.

It’s a wonderful way to get community engagement in an exciting sport which, in turn, may help deter local people from using the Canada Tips and other spoil sites for illegal off-roading.  In conjunction with a Mountain Bike Course Designer / Builder, it is proposed to work with a dedicated community group to develop the existing tracks into a purpose built facility.

How can people get involved?
Through this Delivery Plan a core group of young people (under the leadership of Neon Youth Club) will be established.  They will actively ‘manage’ the facility and learn skills.  Those involved will benefit through a reward scheme (similar to ‘time banking’).  There would also be opportunities to ‘showcase’ cycling skills to the public.



A Place to Start Your Discovery of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site

Every UNESCO World Heritage Site throughout the globe is of significant importance to the World’s history.  So in order to showcase this site, help people learn and discover what the place is about, a crucial part of a World Heritage Site is the visitor centre.
Here’s a quick information guide to the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre and the role it plays to helping visitors discover how they can make the most out of the sites, trails and places of importances to an area.

Location: Blaenavon

The location of the Blaenavon visitor centre

The location of the Blaenavon visitor centre








Visitor Centre Front


Full name: Blaenavon World Heritage and Information Centre

The Blaenavon World Heritage Visitor Centre, situated in a former school built by the Ironmasters in the early 19th Century.

When did it open as a visitor centre?
March 2008

What can people do there?
Visitors to the centre can enjoy films, interactive screens to explore a range of topics, including standards of living, geology, transport systems and World Heritage.  There are exhibitions that explain the stories of the people from Blaenavon, who transformed a mountain landscape through iron-making and coalmining during the Industrial Revolution.

The centre has a gallery, which hosts regular temporary exhibitions, often by talented local artists or photographers.

Visitor Centre 1Café and Shop
There is a well-stocked gift shop in the building where people can by locally produced and themed products. During a visit visitors may also enjoy free wi-fi whilst enjoying an excellent meal or refreshments at the Heritage Café, which overlooks the picturesque St Peter’s Churchyard.

Key starting point to the World Heritage Site…
The centre is the starting point for several walks around the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape; the onsite Tourist Information Centre has a wide selection of walks leaflets for you to choose from.

The centre also offers specialised education provision for schools, a research facility and state of the art conference facilities. Call in to get your visit off to a flying start!

What’s so special about the building? 
Housed in two Grade II* Listed buildings, joined by a contemporary glass and steel link building, there are spectacular views over the Coity Mountain and the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. This historic venue, has a slightly modern twist.

The Centre has been finished to a very high standard, recently receiving an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Why should people visit the centre?
The Blaenavon World Heritage Centre is the ideal starting point for visitors to the World Heritage Sites. It provides an overview of how the stories of Blaenavon Industrial Landscape are of global importance.  It’s an information hub and a place to pick up maps, leaflets and guides to all the important spots.


Clydach Ironworks

Here’s a spotlight on Clydach Ironworks. We’ll take a look at the importance of the Ironworks during the Industrial Revolution, and will see what local volunteer projects are doing to help maintain the site. 

Clydach Ironworks is now a great visitor attraction ©

Clydach Ironworks is now a great visitor attraction ©

A bit of history: Clydach Ironworks was first established in 1793, close to sources of iron ore, coal and limestone. Coal, in the form of coke, had only just replaced charcoal as the best source of fuel for blast furnaces and the Ironworks remained in reduction for around 65 years. Over 1,350 people were employed in 1841, two-thirds of whom were winning iron ore and coal higher up in the valley. Limestone was also quarried locally and was used as a flux (a cleaning agent) in the smelting process.

Raw materials and finished iron were transported both to and from the Ironworks via a series of railroads, tram roads and inclines. The picture shows what remains of the two blast furnaces that produced ‘Grey forge iron’; these were fed from the charging houses above. On the far side of the charging house were the coke ovens where coal was burnt to make coke for the furnaces.