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Revetment of former Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway at Darrenfelen

A Grade II Listed Building in Waunllapria, Monmouthshire

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Latitude: 51.804 / 51°48'14"N

Longitude: -3.1356 / 3°8'8"W

OS Eastings: 321798

OS Northings: 212312

OS Grid: SO217123

Mapcode National: GBR F0.XJW5

Mapcode Global: VH6CP.LXQG

Entry Name: Revetment of former Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway at Darrenfelen

Listing Date: 27 July 2000

Last Amended: 27 July 2000

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 23823

Building Class: Transport

Location: Located W of Darrenfelen on steep side of the Clydach Gorge, below Darrenfelen - Clydach by-road. Prominently visible from Heads of the Valleys Road (A465).

County: Monmouthshire

Community: Llanelly (Llanelli)

Community: Llanelly

Locality: Darrenfelen

Built-Up Area: Waunllapria

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

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Built 1862, forming part of the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway. The Engineer was John Gardner (1821-1894), who has engineered the Staines and Wokingham Railway, and also the Nantwich and Market Drayton Railway, as well as having doubled the line between Abergavenny and Brynmawr. The revetment carried the railway along the steep valley side before the line entered the Gelli-felen Tunnels at the head of the narrow gorge. The line followed the route of Crawshay Bailey’s tramroad of 1822, which connected the Nantyglo Ironworks to the canal at Govilon. The company was set up in 1859, consisting largely of ironmasters including Crawshay Bailey of Nantyglo, Thomas Brown of Ebbw Vale and James Hill of Blaenavon. A local director was John Jayne of Pant-y-beiliau. First sod cut at Abergavenny on 18th June 1860 by Mrs Crawshay Bailey. By August 1860, 8 bridges were under construction, as well as the tunnels at Gellifelen. By 1861, the company was overdrawn, due to the high engineering costs. The London and North Western Railway took a 1000 year lease of the company, confirmed by Act in August 1862, by which time the line was operating from Abergavenny to Brynmawr. Brynmawr-Nantybwch section finished by March 1864. The rest of the line to the west was completed by 1879. In 1877 the line was doubled. Closed 1958.


Long curving revetment built N-S along steep side of narrow gorge is approximately 750 metres long. Rock-faced masonry construction. At N end, built out from the sheer rock-face is a pair of round-headed arches with stone voussoirs. Retaining wall is battered beyond arches to right, and continues for some 150 metres following gentle curve, partly obscured by accumulated spoil. Low segmental arch right of centre, with blue Staffordshire brick arch ring. Towarsd right end is a pair of round arches, and then at extreme right is low segmental arch.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a major survival of later C19 railway engineering, the railway being important to the iron and coal industry of the eastern valleys of Wales. The revetment is a prominent survival of the important industrial landscape of the Clydach Gorge.

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