Dulais Valley Heritage Trail

Village Trails

Please use the links or map icons below to see detailed trail maps for the villages.

Banwen Village Trail

BanwenSt PatrickIron making and coal mining created this settlement soon after the Onllwyn enterprises. Banwen colliery opened in 1845 together with the erection of the colliery houses. A later development was the opening of the larger Maesmarchog mine and more workers housing. Banwen ironworks was established in 1847 but only lasted until 1854.

This area was very isolated before the Neath and Brecon Railway opened in 1863. Until then the only means of conveying the coal and iron out of the valley from Onllwyn and Banwen was by a horse-drawn tramroad westwards to the Swansea Canal near Ystradgynlais.

Crynant Village Trail

CrynantThis is the oldest settlement in the Dulais valley. Around 1500, Llangatwg parish church opened a daughter church, or chapel of ease, at Creunant to serve the needs of the Dulais Valley. By the 1840’s Creunant had developed into a small hamlet consisting of the church, non-conformist chapel, an inn, a mill, and about a dozen dwellings. The opening of the Neath and Brecon Railway in 1863 led to increased coal mining activity in the valley. At Creunant several new mines were opened including the Crynant Colliery, Brynteg Colliery 1904, Llwynon Colliery 1905, Dillwyn Colliery, and Cefn Coed Colliery 1930. These mines led to the expansion of the village.

Onllwyn Village Trail

OnllwynThis was the first industrial village in the Dulais Valley. Coal mining on a commercial scale started at the Drum Colliery in 1823, followed by Onllwyn Colliery in 1841. An iron works was also established in 1844 by London speculators. 44 workers dwellings were erected to house the colliers and iron workers - known as Front Row and Back Row. Brickworks and foundries were also erected, forming the nucleus of the village of Onllwyn.

Seven Sisters Village Trail

Seven SistersWork began on the first pit here in 1872. The mine owner, Evan Evans-Bevan, named the pit after his own sisters. The village grew up around the pit and took the same name. The first houses for the workers were the single storey terrace in Brick Row. More collieries opened as the demand for coal increased. Nant-y-Cafn or Dillwyn Colliery in 1884, Brynteg Colliery and brickworks 1885 and Henllan Colliery 1911. All the housing in the new village prior to the 1930’s was for coal miners, brick workers and railway employees.