Upper Cwmbran to Henllys
A mountain walk passing the ruins of an ancient pilgrimage chapel
Start: Upper Cwmbran Road
Finish: Henllys Way, Henllys
Parking: On-road parking
Approximate Distance: 5 kms / 3 miles
Time Allowance: 1.5 hours
The start of this walk takes you past what used to be a small Woollen Factory in the 1930s, which made flannel shirts for the miners. It was powered by water diverted from the Bran Brook. Some older locals still refer to this road as Factory Road, rather than by its present name of Upper Cwmbran Road. You will also pass the site of the old brickworks. By the mid 1840s, a phenomenal 100,000 firebricks were being produced here per week.
You will head towards Llanderfel. Tradition has it that Derfel, (nicknamed Derfel the Strong), was one of King Arthur’s knights and took part in the battle of Camlan in 540 AD.
About 200 metres beyond the farm house at Llanderfel, in the field to your right, above the level of the lane, are the ruins of the small chapel of St Derfel. This was used by pilgrims, en route from Llantarnam Abbey (a once a Cistercian Monastery) to Pen Rhys and beyond to St David’s in west Wales. The chapel dates back to approximately 550AD and is said to have been established by St Derfel. It is one of only two chapels in Wales being dedicated to the saint. St Derfel is supposedly one of the 1,000 Celtic saints buried on Bardsey Island, North Wales.
Later on the walk you will pass a plaque giving information of Henllys Colliery, which was established in 1895.
Part of this section follows the line of the tramroad (The Incline) which ran from the quarry right down to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
You will pass by Old Row and New Row, built to house workers from Henllys Colliery. The oldest date back to the1800s. Henllys Colliery was abandoned in 1898, but later reopened. Records show that in 1900, there were only ten men employed producing black vein coal and clay; 7 below ground and 3 above.
Download a copy of the Torfaen Trail - Figure of 8 Leaflet which includes the Upper Cwmbran to Henllys walk here.
Last Modified: 25/10/2021
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