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Site Details

NPRN 406367

Map Reference SN70NW

Grid Reference SN73770500

Unitary (Local) Authority Neath, Port Talbot

Old County Glamorgan

Community Pontardawe

Type of Site CANAL DOCK


Period Post Medieval

Site Description Waun-y-coed or 'Ynyscedwyn Iron Works' Colliery Branch Canal and Docks D29 and D11. This 300m long branch canal was sealed off from the main Swansea Canal after disuse and its bed is now level with the surrounding meadows. The canal banks, which were freestanding, have been breached in places. The docks lie abandoned among trees and undergrowth on the banks of the Tawe.

The canal was built in 1828 by George Crane,1 owner of Ynyscedwyn ironworks and lessee of the later feeder railway (T30). A towing path bridge, now destroyed, crossed the entrance to the branch. Halfway along the branch narrows and is fitted with stop-grooves at a point where one might expect to find evidence of a lifting bridge, although nothing can be seen.

The long narrow dock on the riverbank at the south-east end of the branch is situated about 2m above the level of the Tawe on the point of a bend to the south-east. In the south corner of the dock basin is a dry dock with stop grooves, the main wharf appears to have been on the north-east side of the dock. The main wharf was fed by a railway carried over the river on a trestle bridge of which the abutments survive. The colliery entrance was on the high ground on the south-east side of the river. A wide area on the south-west side of the dock may be the site of stables, but no trace of buildings can be seen as the ground has been greatly disturbed by attempts to salvage coal, to the north-east, coke ovens and a forge existed in the mid-nineteenth century. The only buildings to survive are two houses, a small weighbridge house and the substantial ruins of a smithy set on the river bank. One of the houses is said to have been the manager's house. A third house set near the middle of the branch has been demolished.
Junction with the main canal at SN 7353 0520

Dock at SN 7377 0500

1. Swansea Canal Minutes, 1st July 1828.

Stephen R. Hughes, 27.06.2007

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