Contact

Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
Senghenydd
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445
E-mail:  senghen.heritage@btconnect.com

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Heritage trail

A 6 mile walk offering an insight into the rich heritage of this spectacular landscape.

2 ½ - 3 hour moderate trail with stunning panoramic views.

A circular walk around Senghenydd, Abertridwr and Mynydd Eglwysilian, near Caerphilly.

The weather in the valleys is changeable so you'll need waterproofs and stout footwear. Please follow the Countryside Code as you walk.

The Rose and Crown Pub, CF83 4JG. Open evenings and weekends, has kindly granted permission to use their car park.

The Rose and Crown and St Ilan's Church (1 and 2)

Next to the pub stands the 13th Century church of St Ilan. In the churchyard are many graves of miners killed in the 1901 and 1913 disasters at the Universal Colliery, Senghenydd.

Eglyws Ilan

Viewpoint (3)

Look back and you will see the Vale of Glamorgan, the Bristol Channel and the Somerset coastline.

Proceed upwards. On your right are the remains of the Windsor Colliery, Abertridwr spoil-tip. As the path turns to the left you will see two gates. Leave the path and go through the gates.

Viewpoint (4)

From here you can see the top end of the Aber Valley. You will observe the distinctive Four Terraces' where, it is claimed, every home had a victim from the 1913 Universal explosion. The old colliery spoil-tips can also be seen.

Return to the path which follows a stone wall on your right. Looking ahead, watch out for the majestic peaks of the Brecon Beacons as they appear. As you approach Twyn Hywel and its three radio masts you will see a kissing gate in the wall to your right.

(Those who wish to shorten their trail should go through the gate and descend the fields to Senghenydd village.

If you continue on the full trail, the path starts to descend and is joined by two others from the left. Continue below the gorse-covered remains of the Senghenydd Dyke. On your right there are good views of Senghenydd village with its ribbon development of terraced houses so typical of the coalfield.

Take a sharp left turn up a steep, stony incline to the top of the Dyke. Turn right and walk along its ditch and embankment to a point opposite a pylon.

Senghenydd Dyke Viewpoint (5)

Encircling Senghenydd are the remains of a 13th Century Game Park, once well-stocked with game and deer. It was the private hunting ground of the de Clare family, builders and early occupants of Caerphilly Castle. Long lengths of the bank and ditch can still be seen.

Enjoy the views of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the north and the Aber Valley and the Bristol Channel to the South.

Descend along a grass path underneath plylon wires to a post indicating the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk where you will see two burial sites, one each side of the path.

Carneddi Llwydion (6)

These circular burial sites or 'Grey Cairns' are the best preserved of the Bronze Age remains scattered across Eglwysilian Common.

Continue along the path to meet the Senghenydd / Nelson mountain road. Ahead of you, more remnants of the Dyke are clearly visible. Turn right, leave the Common and begin the descent into Senghenydd. Just before Craig-y-Hufen Farm is a kissing gate to your left.

Go through and follow the farm fence round to the right.

Viewpoint (7)

From here there are good views of the old Universal Colliery site., its spoil-tips and the twin villages of Senghenydd and Abertridwr.

Proceed down the field to a kissing gate from where you can see the 'Four' Terraces' on your left. Traverse the field to the right and where you will pass through another kissing gate to join the main road. When you reach the road sign for Senghenydd the Universal site is on your right.

The urban part of the trail passes many of the places mentioned in Alexander Cordell's epic novel "This Sweet and Bitter Earth" which concludes its powerful tale in 1913 Senghenydd. 

Universal Colliery Site (8)

The pit was sunk in 1891 and has become synonymous with the dangerous nature of the industry. In 1901 it was the scene of a disaster that stole 81 lives and then on the 14th October 1913 the worst mining disaster in British history occurred, killing 440 men and boys, including one rescuer. The colliery closed in 1928.

Follow the road downhill to the entrance of Nant-y-Parc Primary School, its name a reminder of the medieval park that Senghenydd once was. Proceed to the school gates.

Universal Colliery Memorial (9)

The Memorial was erected in 1981 by the National Coal Board (NCB) to commemmorate the miners killed in both explosions. 

Standing 20 foot high, it replicates the original mine headgear. A memorial service is held here annually on the anniversary of the 1913 disaster. 

Return to the main road and follow the pavement to Senghenydd Square, at the centre of which is a War Memorial.

Senghenydd War Memorial (10)

This clock tower was erected in 1921 in memory of the 63 men from the village who died in the First World War (1914-18). A further 24 gave their lives in the Second World War (1939-45).

Enter Gwern Avenue directly opposite the memorial. You will see Senghenydd Community Centre on your left in the near distance.

Heritage Room, Senghenydd Community Centre (11)

The Centre houses a Heritage Room containing photographs and artefacts which tell the sad story of the double tragedy that blighted the village. It is open Monday - Saturday, 11am - 2pm, it is well worth a visit. Allow half an hour.

Turn left on leaving the Centre and take the second left into West Side where you will join a cycle track leading to Abertridwr. On the left you pass Senghenydd Rugby Club and its pitches. The club was formed in 1898 to meet the recreational needs of a growing population.

Continue along the track until you come to Ysgol Ifor Bach, named after the Welsh Lord of Senghenydd famous for his attack on the Norman Lord of Cardiff Castle in 1158. Turn left at the T-junction outside the school, walk for 50 yards and you will arrive at the Windsor Colliery Memorial.

Windsor Colliery Memorial (12)

This memorial was built in 2006 on the site of the Windsor Colliery, Abertridwr, the Univeral's twin pit and remembers the 154 miners who were killed in its working life, 1898 - 1986. It is built of polished pre-cast concrete and is carved with mining images.

Take the cycle path opposite the memorial and follow the course of a stream on your left. Continue until the path begins to ascend. Cross a small bridge and turn left where paths converge. Cross another bridge over a brook and you will see the former Abertridwr Workmen's Hall on your left.

Windsor Memorial

Abertridwr Workmen's Hall (13)

This was completed in 1910 at a cost of £8,000 and was financed by weekly subscriptions from the miners' wages.

At this point you may want to take a detour and visit Abertridwr Community Centre and Aber Valley YMCA. The Centre is istuated on the main road close to the Square and the YMCA is located near to Brynhafod Road.

Abertridwr Community Centre and Aber Valley YMCA (14 and 15)

Nazareth Chapel, which now serves as Abertridwr Community Centre (Call 029 20 830 520 to arrange a visit) houses Rolls of honour to the men of the village who fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and to those who died in global conflicts.

Aber Vallley YMCA (Call 029 20 830 326 to arrange a visit) houses a display of 1,000 photgraphs depicting life in the Aber Valley over the last 130 years. 

From the Workman's Hall continue the gradual ascent up Church Road to Eglwysilian, a mile or so distant. This is the journey that the funeral corteges took in 1901 and 1913 to convey disaster victims to their final resting place in Eglwysilian Church.

Continue along the road (Eglwysilian is sign-posted) to a kissing gate from which you will see the church and the Rose & Crown. Pass through the gate and return to your starting point. Allow some time to explore the interesting graveyard.

 

PASSCHENDAELE (THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES)

A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards

 

Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd

 

Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a

 

Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.