Henllys to Llantarnam
Following an old tram road
Start: Henllys Way, Henllys
Finish: Boating Lake, Cwmbran
Parking: On-road parking
Approximate Distance: 5.5 kms / 3.5 miles
Time Allowance: 2 hours
This route takes you through an area that has an industrial history, following, in part, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
This canal started life as two separate waterways: the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal and the Monmouthshire Canal. The Monmouthshire Canal Company received its Act of Parliament simultaneously with the planning of the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal. It was decided to link the two at Pontymoile. Both canals were supported by horse-drawn tram roads bringing materials such as coal, limestone and iron ore down from the hills.
You will pass by Llantarnam Abbey. The original abbey was founded on this site in 1175 by a Lord of Caerleon Howel ap Iorwerth. Nothing visible is left of the medieval buildings, but the house was completely rebuilt by Reginald James Blewitt in 1834-5. He was the owner of the Porthmawr Colliery at Upper Cwmbran. ‘Porthmawr’ and ‘Magna Porta’ both mean ‘Great Gate’. The Abbey is presently occupied by the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy.
The Greenhouse Public House is along this section. Above the door is an inscription written in Welsh and translates, ‘The Green House 1719. Good beer and cider for you. Come in and you shall taste it’. In 1839, the Chartists who had advanced down the Eastern Valley on their way to Newport stopped here for refreshment and Mr Blewitt MP from Llantarnam came out to talk to them and to try to deter them from continuing their march to Newport, but he was ignored. If you wish to know more about the history of the Chartist movement, there are several websites you can visit. Next to The Greenhouse is the church of St Michael and All Angels. In the graveyard is a restored preaching cross, the base and shaft are ancient, but the cross is much later. Also of interest, situated in the graveyard near The Greenhouse is the grave of John William Fielding, who, as Private John Williams in the South Wales Borderers, won the Victoria Cross for his part in the defence of Rorke’s Drift on 22 and 23 January in the Zulu War of 1879. He died in 1937 at the age of 75 and was buried with full military honours.
Download a copy of the Torfaen Trail - Figure of 8 Leaflet which includes the Henllys to Llantarnam walk here.
Last Modified: 25/10/2021
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