UNESCO inscribed Blaenavon Industrial Landscape as a World Heritage Site in 2000. The Ironworks and Big Pit - together with the wider landscape with its relicts of mineral exploitation, manufacturing, transport and settlements – all tell the story of the iron and coal industry in South Wales in the 19th century.
The 33km2 landscape and the townscape are as important as the sites. The landscape contained the raw materials needed to make pig iron: ironstone, coal and limestone, and water to help power the machinery.
The hills around Blaenavon have extensive remains of quarries and mines. Evidence also survives of horse-drawn railways — and their tunnels and inclines — used to transport raw materials into the ironworks and return the resulting pig iron to Garnddyrys forge. From there, finished iron was taken down to the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal at Llanfoist and into the outside world.
The town of Blaenavon also forms part of the World Heritage Site with its streets of workers’ housing, the distinctive settlement of Forge Side, the iron-framed church of St Peter’s, Workingmen’s Institute and St Peter’s School.
For information on walks and trails, have a look at Visit Blaenavon’s suggestions here: