LLANFOIST INCLINES, HILL'S TRAMROAD
Map Reference SO21SE
Grid Reference SO2814912847
Unitary (Local) Authority Monmouthshire
Old County Monmouthshire
Community Llanfoist Fawr
Type of Site INCLINED PLANE
Broad Class TRANSPORT
Period Post Medieval
Site Description The Llanfoist Inclines lie within the Blaenavon World Heritage site and form part of Hil's Tramroad (NPRN 85860). They were laid out and constructed between 1818-1821 and were abandoned by 1880. The tramroad principally transported limestone and fluxing stone from the Pwll du quarries, iron goods, principally from the Garnddyrs Forge but also from the Blaenavon works and coal from the Bodolog level and latterly New Pit. Whilst some raw materials were taken to the Blaenavon works via the Pwll du tunnel, the majority of goods were transported to Llanfoist to link with the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal for onward travel to the Newport Docks, the Llanvihangel Railway for onward travel to Abergavenny and a series of lime kilns in the Llanfoist village.
The inclines comprise of 4 planes or stages which run down Cwm Craf on the Blorenge, descending some 230m over c.1km. Three ran down to the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal, with a fourth running from the canal to the lime kilns in Llanfoist. Each stage was straight but none were in line with each other and between each there would have been a small level platform where the trams were transferred. This was a self-acting or balanced incline, whereby the weight of the full wagons on one side, pulled up the empties on the other, linked by chains. Each incline stage would have been equipped with its own winding wheel and brake engine sitauted at the head of the stage. At Llanfoist the brake engine was a horizontal wheel, with a wood-lined brake strap bearing on a brake wheel that was integral with the winding wheel. A series of roughly rectangular single-holed stone blocks which survive along the length of the inclines and would have held the iron rails of the 2 foot gauge double track.
The top three inclines (NPRNs 91650, 91649, 91648) down to the canal are still traceable on the ground and have been surveyed in detail by the RCAHMW. The fourth incline (NPRN 405165) was partly washed away in 1860.
Rattenbury, G 1980 Tramroads of the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal (Railway and Canal Historical Society)
Van Laun J 2001 Early Limestone Railways (The Newcomen Society, London
Louise Barker, RCAHMW, 17th October 2006