Ancient Monuments

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Glyncorrwg Mineral Railway (Parsons Folly) Section on Cefn Morfudd

A Scheduled Monument in Tonna, Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

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Latitude: 51.6688 / 51°40'7"N

Longitude: -3.7512 / 3°45'4"W

OS Eastings: 278994

OS Northings: 198122

OS Grid: SS789981

Mapcode National: GBR H5.615W

Mapcode Global: VH5GN.XBS1

Entry Name: Glyncorrwg Mineral Railway (Parsons Folly) Section on Cefn Morfudd

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1993

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 314

Cadw Legacy ID: GM447

Schedule Class: Transport

Category: Railway

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot)

Community: Tonna

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of the remains of the Glyncorrwg Mineral Railway (alias 'Parsons' Folly'). It is an outstanding example of the peak of civil engineering reached by horse-operated tramroads. It was built between 1839 and 1841 by William Kirkhouse for Charles Strange and Robert Parsons to carry coal from mines in the Gwenffrwd, Pelenna and Cregan Valleys, seven and a half miles to the Neath Canal at Aberdulais. It fell out of use in 1852. The route across Cefn Morfudd is the best preserved and the most spectacular section. At the northwest end is the massive stone embankment which formed the head of the first of several inclined planes into which are among the largest on any tramroad in Wales, showing the efforts made to create a straight and level line unlike earlier more sinuous routes. Stone sleeper blocks survive in many places. To the south east are remains of the railway's only steam operated inclined plane (the other six being gravity operated), which brought loaded waggons up from Cwm Gwenffrwd; the base of the engine house for a high pressure engine made at Neath Abbey Ironworks, its reservoir, and the cutting at the incline head. The scheduled area also includes three low dams cut by the railway which controlled water for the Melincryddan Copperworks (established in 1695).

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of the development of industrial transportation in the 18th and 19th century. The track bed, bridges, drainage systems, embankments and revetments may all be expected to contain archaeological information in regard to construction techniques and functional detail.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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