Ancient Monuments

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Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct / Viaduct

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

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Latitude: 51.633 / 51°37'58"N

Longitude: -3.7414 / 3°44'29"W

OS Eastings: 279571

OS Northings: 194127

OS Grid: SS795941

Mapcode National: GBR H5.89MF

Mapcode Global: VH5GW.36DY

Entry Name: Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct / Viaduct

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1978

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 616

Cadw Legacy ID: GM393

Schedule Class: Water Supply and Drainage

Category: Aqueduct

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

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

Community: Cwmavon (Cwmafan)

Built-Up Area: Pontrhydyfen

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument is a large stone four span bridge originally constructed by John Reynolds as an aqueduct carrying water across the Afan valley to supply the waterwheel powering the blast furnace at Cwmavon Ironworks. It was later converted to a viaduct. It measures c. 135m in length, is over 23m high and c. 4m wide, and comprises four round headed arches whose piers are splayed rectangular in section.

When completed, in 1827, it was the largest aqueduct in Britain and, as an impressive engineering feat, became a local tourist attraction. Pontrhydyfen was the birthplace of Richard Burton, and the monument is also valued for iconic photographs showing the actor walking across the bridge. Today the bridge carries a path and cycleway.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of early 19th century industrial engineering and technology. Architectural details concerning chronology and building techniques were identified during conservation works undertaken during 2016-2017 and the structure retains strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by group value in association with surviving industrial historic features including ironworks, tramroads and workers housing.

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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