Pentre Piod Road to Pontypool Park
A short stretch along the cycle route and through the town of Pontypool
Start: Pentre Piod Road
Finish: Pontypool Active Living Centre
Parking: Park on the highway
Approximate Distance: 4.2 kms / 2.6 miles
Time Allowance: 1.5 hours
As well as the thriving Japanware trade, Pontypool had one of the earliest printing presses (the fourth installed in Wales). Established in 1740 it seemed to produce mostly ecclesiastical pamphlets. One of the first was an “answer of the Rev. Mr Whitfield to a letter of the Bishop of London” and was “A choice drop of honey from the Rock of Christ; or a short word of advice to saints and sinners now translated into welsh for the assistance of the Welsh. Pontypool. Printed in the new printing press in the year 1740”. The press only appears to have operated for two years, a press not appearing again until the mid nineteenth century.
“Pont ap Howell” is the bridge depicted in the George Street mural and legend has it that a supposed cleric called Howell ap Dafydd tussled with the devil during the construction of this bridge.
Pontypool Park House, once the residence of the Hanburys and is now St Alban’s Comprehensive Roman Catholic School. The school was founded, originally as a girl’s convent, by French nuns in 1914. It was extended and turned into a secondary school in the 1950’s and became a comprehensive in the 1980’s.
The grounds of Pontypool Park were once a deer park for the Squires of Pontypool (the Hanburys) which evolved over the years into parkland with gardens and follies. In 1920, the last squire of Pontypool, John Capel Hanbury, transferred ownership of the 158 acre park to the Urban District Council in a grand ceremony that saw the ceremonial unlocking of the park gates with a golden key, which proclaimed the park the ‘Peoples Park’.
The first ironworks in Pontypool were founded in this park around the early 15th century. The Hanbury family took over the works in the 1570’s and Pontymoile may be considered as the first place in Wales where ironworks of any importance were established. In the latter part of the seventeenth century, the manager of the works, Thomas Cooke, perfected (some reference say he invented) the art of making tin plates, a process where iron was rolled into thin sheets, made into cylinders and then plated in tin.
You may have noticed that most of Pontypool is crammed onto the very steep slopes of the valley. This is because the Hanburys’ purchased the more level areas of around Pontymoile which they later used to build the family home and to lay out their park and gardens, leaving only the narrow strip of land on one side of the Afon Llwyd and the steep hillsides for the town to expand.
Download a copy of the Torfaen Trail - Figure of 8 Leaflet which includes the Pentre Piod Road to Pontypool Park here.
Last Modified: 25/10/2021
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