Articles, Blog

Inside an Abandoned Mountain Railway Tunnel.

February 5, 2020

good morning everybody and welcome to
South Wales again if you’re watching this video we’ve had success in what
we’re trying to do today if you’re not watching this video we’ve
not had any success so carry on not watching the video this is very exciting okay so if you remember or if you’ve
been watching our channel a long time just over a year ago we did a video from
the hills tram road the blorenge mountain with four tunnels. Now we
kind of got short time on that day and we didn’t really look at the third
tunnel properly and we only briefly saw one of the portals of the Pwll Du tunnel
so we thought we’d like a little bit of a short video today just seeing if we
can find the third tunnel properly again and to see if we can have a look at both
portals of the Pwll Du to see if anything has changed so that’s it if you’re
watching this video then we’ve had a bit of success so we’re now okay right we
are a very squishy guys really frosty cold day today it’s about -1, I
think up on the side of this big old mountain and yeah we’re now in Garnddyrys Forge you join us here on the side of the beautiful Blorenge if you ever get
a chance you won’t explore somewhere different
come to this mountain it’s stunning it’s just next Abergavenny, there’s a lot
to explore a lot of industrial heritage to explore here so 100% recommend coming
here anyway right onwards so just rocks we’re trying to find where
the tunnel portals were where the tunnel was because we do have a better idea
this time a bit more research a little bit history about this place but Bleanavon works opened in late 1780 to 89 and at that time they were transporting
limestone and iron ore from the north over the top of the hill so Thomas
Hill opened up Garnddyrys forge where we are now from Bleanavon up to here they
transported the pig iron to this forge This Forge, between
1816 1860 was producing 200 tons of wrought iron taken it down to the Becknock and
Abergavenny Canal, per week 200 tons per week here as a lot there’s four hundred
and fifty people living here right here on this side of this mountain three
hundred meters up 450 meters up so part of that tramway the hills tramway that
he built from Bleanavon and all across this mountainside three miles down there
there’s four tunnels biggest was Pwll du which we’ll look at soon the other
one which we didn’t get to see properly last time was the Garnddyrys Forge
tunnel and the Tramway went completely through it we assumed to
protect the line as there’s no need for a tunnel here so we assume at the level it went
we assume is to protect the line maybe from the works or something better
we’ve got a very idea now where we’re looking so onwards till that time confirmation of the tunnel definitely
being here and where we think it is, is that hole there. So the hole where tells the
story because I’ll get some other shots in a second but you can see there is an
archway in there that looks have really intact, really
straight yeah this is good, straight you said it was curved. I mean
no blemishes, that was so cool I’m so pleased we did come back and we found
this we’re going that way to see if there’s any more holes I think
there’s a couple of holes this side huh look at all this old spoiled slag heap
or whatever they call it and by products of producing the wrought iron from the
pig iron I sound like the right historian and I have no idea what I’m what i’m on about.
Look at that so this is the sidewall. The the internals inside of it it were
obviously arched. Outside it wasn’t arched I said it was clearly like a
squared structure but over here just there we’ve got the hole lets have
a look inside There’s a big hole down there, we wanted to get in here for a long time. I’m not worried about the air too much because there’s a
hole there hole right next to me and a hole behind me. A bit of small enough to
get there there. Apart from the collapse it looks very very
intact all around look back this way the only wet bit seems to be here and it’s
long it’s really long there is the collapsed area I think. so how long is this, a number of people says
150 meters I think it’s longer than 150 meters Ok, lets take some snaps. let’s have a quick look at the other
hole that we saw in the tunnel the end should be and let’s take a moment to enjoy the spectacular view. …. and the wild Paul is
making his way down into the hole. … this is back
the way we came ….yet more
light… like another opening. This has dramatically changed since we were last
here so there is another hole and remember yep right if you remember when
we came at last time we were we’ve all we found was a tiny hole back there were
film first and the side wall which is a lot smaller I don’t we know we could
have gotten us this time the holes someone’s made it bigger but we also had
two big collapses here’s one understood on top of the earth now that collapse
the other is back there again there’s a hole in the roof but more importantly
there’s another hole further on what we’re trying to find this is really
important for us is the portals no sign of portals so maybe that hole down there
is a portal that’s gonna have a look right when we came here last time there
was there was none of this there was one entrance I’ve just repeating myself you
said before this is really bizarre sauce because in one year there’s been two, no
three collapses of this dry tunnel which doesn’t sound right but who knows what
condition is in and also here now that could be the portal because behind
right here there’s nothing this is open empty so I suspect this is probably the
portal it doesn’t look like a portal but maybe there’s some more bricks around
it’s just sort of rolled it away but I reckon this is where the portal was now
we didn’t miss this last time because we were here and we were saying we think
this is where the portal is. This is really cool people. Really cool but I would hope it’s been looked after its a
UNESCO World Heritage Site this needs looking after this this
actual tunnel is the reason why this place is so important in terms of
historical content is because of the things they were doing here and it it was it was unique if they said this was new technology at the time and
this needs protecting okay at the moment it’s falling in it’s falling in this
falling in so I don’t know maybe we should get in contact with some of the
safe coming up after this because this is massively important heritage. Rant
over let’s go to Pwll Du tunnel right so right now and one of three
portals for the longest tram road tunnel in the world. 1875 meters
in length, built by Thomas Hill and in here at the northern portal
they took I think limestone and maybe something else as well and they took
south to Bleanavon pre 1816 over the top of the hill there and
horse and cart which was hard work so 1816 Thomas Hill decides to build this now it was
an extension of an already built coal mine from the other side from the Bleanavon side and it was already a kilometre into the hillside he extended
that pretty much another kilometer to come out here this was a northern portal
so just here we’ve already mentioned before it’s split and another side went
off towards the east back toward where were at Garnddyrys Forge. So this is
traffic coming through the tunnel from BLeanavon which was a pig ore went that way
and back around towards garnddyrys and then obviously round the rest of the
hill was tram Road 3 further miles down into the Llanfoist incline and to
the Brecknock and Abergavenny canal right so another first for us we’re now
looking for what would be the southwestern portal or about to be or trying to find
it of the Pwll Du tunnel now I’m aware that they did do this up so they sort of
redid the portal so behind us but Bleanavon ironworks where everything happened so
they transported tons and tons of limestone through the tunnel this way
southwards to the Iron works the Iron was made that I believe it somehow into pig
iron the pig iron was then transported back through the tunnel and out of the
let’s call it the eastern y-shaped portal the other end. fascinating history right here. and apparently the local ladies,
it says hopped on the trucks through tunnel really yeah right few observations so the guys what
an great lump of concrete probably half a foot thick fit concrete in there about
a meter and a half in block it off with a little square entrance now the water
level is up to the up to the entrance they’re pretty much maybe a few inches
away from the window interestingly we know this end 20 meters
lower than the other end so the water obviously just backed up it’s gone
nowhere to go it’s such a shame it’s a little bit of a Rant here. Narrated: So we did rant and
I ranted we also wrote to CADW so CADW whales look after a number of
historic sites around the country and whilst they aren’t responsible for those
two sites that we visited today in particular they did get back to us and
say they do have some involvement good news the Pwll Du so important has
obtained the services of a structural survey engineer who is going to come and
do an assessment and then they’re going to work towards a more positive outcome
for it yes the lady that replied to me did agree that the concrete
structure isn’t ideal despite the fact it’s got some holes in the bottom of the
to let water out they obviously become blocked up easily and agrees it does
need some positive action which it’s it’s going to undergo very soon this is
great news back over to Garnddyrys again
CADW don’t have direct responsibility for it but do have involvement the lady
said she had recently been out to the site and has been working with the
current landowner for a positive sort of management strategy for the site as a
whole including the tunnel which is fantastic, so a big THANK YOU to CADW
do for getting back to me and yet just goes to show that if we do
ask the question you do get some answers so really positive outcomes and it’s
just left for us to round off the video so from the beautiful landscape of the
Blorenge and the Bleanavon ironworks Garnddyrys Forge the Pwll Du tunnel right
behind us which is in need of a little bit attention in terms of this portal if
they do want to look after it because it’s filled up with water and holes they
seem to have maybe drilled in the bottom it just plugged so that’s us that we’ve
two big ticks today we haven’t seen this portal before and we never got inside
the garnddyrys, so we hope you enjoyed this little video in the end and we will see
you next time thanks watching like subscribe and all that jazz.


  • Reply Boris S. February 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Keep smiling and all the best for 2020…

  • Reply clinton epps February 5, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    dam that was cold but then again i would most likely be in shorts , but even at 22:30 it is still around 30c outside my place and warm 25c inside can you send some cool weather my way

  • Reply Griffin O'Neal February 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    You literally get inside the history….. brilliant

  • Reply Ernest Rugenstein February 5, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Great Video – I like the scramble into the tunnel.

  • Reply Dave Pendrill February 5, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Another brilliant video.all the best .

  • Reply Alan Whitewick February 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Really enjoyed it, beautiful area of Wales. By the way I need a wheelbarrow, should have brought the one home seen at 8.38.

  • Reply Owen Richardson February 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Good Enthusiasm, Good Mini Rant, Good Scenery & Good Intervention.

  • Reply Geoff Marshall February 5, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    i still saying the arrow is pointing at your arse. it's a nice arse though, so all is good…

  • Reply Terry England February 5, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Nice one, even better you got some action going to preserve it and to make it more accessible. Well done Paul and Rebecca

  • Reply Robert Perring February 5, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Should you be wearing a hard hat. Health and safety at all times

  • Reply StephenWilliams February 5, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Really enjoyed this video. There is just something so fascinating about tunnels. Incidentally, I had inadvertently got the sub-titles on and, apparently, you …"are very squishy guys, really frosty!" i think it lost something in the translation ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Colin Harrison February 5, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Fantastic workmanship inside the tunnel. Both the men who built it, and your good selves! Very interesting as always. History at your fingertips. Thanks.

  • Reply Hubert Van Calenbergh February 5, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    A tad dangerous. Imagine going for a walk when it's dark and not seeing that grass-covered hole in the ground . . . Wales certainly is beautiful. I might vacation there sometime.

  • Reply brumsgrub February 5, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Great place to park a bike also

  • Reply john wheatley February 5, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I wasn't expecting that tunnel to be in reasonable good condition & I wasn't expecting the Welsh authorities to be that interested – Well done, and thanks..

  • Reply Paul Raymond February 5, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I can only assume the first tunnel was built to protect the route from landslide and /or snow drifting.

  • Reply David Gatt February 5, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    love your pronunciation .. its very random !!! lol

  • Reply Michael Johnson February 5, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Another nice and informative blog and and action on its plight

  • Reply Mei Chong February 5, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Hs2 has been approved. In a very very recent video a guest involved in pre planning for it extolled the virtues and said
    ABERGAVENNY would benefit from this project being approved. Well if that is the case enthusiasts will be able to explore today's
    locations far easier travelling VIA ABERGAVENNY on the new HS2 when completed

  • Reply ian jackson February 5, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    good video both, really enjoyed it nice one…

  • Reply Ryan Parker February 5, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    The opening made me think, you guys are the Jay and Silent Bob of the railways hahaha

  • Reply Ben Harley February 5, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Fascinating ๐Ÿ‘ take it these tramways were always horse drawn with no eventual locomotive haulage?

  • Reply Leslie Dodds February 5, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Very good views of this wee tunnel on another railway channel the guy put up a slow moving train on a run down railway in USA i think it was a goods moving line ;;Somebody put up a comment do you get HIGH SPEED TRAINS on this line WHAT ;;I said yes you do IN SLOW MOTION it was a very answer indeed ;;GOOD stuff ya too hope ye get another railway tunnel to explore .

  • Reply David Cutts February 5, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Great video & history. Your enthusiasm is Appreciated. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘.

  • Reply John Norris Metal Sculpture February 5, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Great vid! My dad wrote the guide book for the canal and I remember doing this exact same walk many years ago. I was telling him.about your last video on this just a few days ago. Great stuff … brings back many memories.

  • Reply Castle Rock RAIL FAN February 5, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    great video liked ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ›ค

  • Reply 2H80vids February 5, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Another fascinating episode folks, about an area I know very little about. It's a beautiful location too, looks bloody cold though.
    Something I've noticed as your channel progresses; you seem to be doing more. I don't mean going and doing more things; I mean getting involved and maybe trying to make a difference. Fair play to you. As the channel grows, you are reaching more and more people, many of whom share our interests. Don't be afraid of having a wee rant from time to time, someone has to do it and you have 15,000 bods listening to these rants.
    Between the internet and the written word, there is a vast amount of information available nowadays and railway history is no exception. What you are doing adds another valuable angle to that information and brings the history back to life. Great job !!๐Ÿ‘Œ

    Cheers for now,

  • Reply Brent Miller February 5, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Great Video, so well presented and when you wanted to show us something you got out of the way so you could do just that.

  • Reply Peter Brameld February 5, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Great videos thank you very much! Please could you tell me which variable focus torch you are using? Please keep up the good work greatly enjoy your tunnels. Cheers, Peter

  • Reply Xplore Productions February 5, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Yes!!!!!epic tunnel and we definitely want to check this out! What an amazing location, no idea how you found these. Absolutely incredible views.

  • Reply Andy Alder February 5, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Mt Blorenge, the only thing to rhyme with Gorringe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Ian R McAllister February 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Lovely video – and thank you for highlighting our wonderful local industrial history in a beautiful and awe-inspiring landscape.

    One issue however ….. your (lack of ) Welsh pronunciation. You sound just like an English man prononucing Blaenavon (e can be like i in Welsh, so Blaiin-avon works better), and Cadw has a silent second a (so try Cad-aw). Good Luck!

  • Reply Neil Thomas February 5, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Great vid. Hope you both had your thermals on.

  • Reply Robert Haynes February 5, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Hello both, thanks for your videos. If you are really interested in that area, you could check out Chris Barbar's books. One in particular is 'In the footsteps of Alexander Cordell'. This area as been nicknamed 'Cordell Country' I think he also wrote a book about Hill's Tramroad.
    * BARBER *

  • Reply george waite February 5, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Blae A von not Blaenavon .as in river Avon .

  • Reply tardis mole February 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Is the damage to Garnddyrys (pronounced Garn-thurus) Forge Tunnel deliberate, do you think? It just seems to be a lot of damage in one year to be down to natural age and abandonment. Either way, Cadw needs to get off their behinds and do something to stop more damage occuring, and quickly before there's nothing left. Cadw – w in Welsh is an 'oh' sound, btw. Yes, Welsh is weird. :). So glad they've got involved. Wales has a rich heritage and we should be proud of it and more aware of what needs to be done to protect it. Great video.

  • Reply Clunk February 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Were these tunnels built in the style of Blaenavon viaduct? As in they were originally on the surface but covered so spoil could cover them?

  • Reply Hans Kniezand February 5, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Great shots of the tunnels. Could have done with a spoiler alert at the beginning though. I was looking forward to watching the pair of you traipsing through the frozen Welsh countryside for a day and finding nothing of interest, whilst I sit in my nice warm lounge, but you went and ruined it for me.

  • Reply Martin Zero February 5, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    That was great. Some nice tunnels there. loved the rant. I think your getting more daring ๐Ÿ˜

  • Reply Mesnil Man February 5, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I get the feeling that this area is becoming your Corrour! Cracking video, as ever

  • Reply Gord Slater February 5, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    10:06 – they say the ghost of the headless navvy still haunts the tunnel

  • Reply cargy930 February 5, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Oooh, look at you getting all Johnny Noakes and stuff! I'd say that Martin has been a bad effluence ๐Ÿ˜› on you guys!
    Fascinating vid, chaps. Thank you for braving a cold day up that 'ill, just for the delectation of us armchair explorers.

  • Reply LEGEND GAMING February 5, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    you might as well just move to wales your always there giving us amazing content

  • Reply Hull History Nerd February 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    What a beautiful morning. It's the kind of day I love to photograph, but hate to be out in doing photography. Seems like a risky place to go, given that holes keep opening into it! You're far more daring than me, I'd just stand back and poke my Gopro in on a stick!

  • Reply martin hew February 5, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Loved the video as always. Sometimes a rant gets things done lol. Must visit there as looks very nice.

  • Reply MM0IMC February 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Do you think it's more than coincidental that there's been so many collapses in a relatively short period of time? Could it have been deliberate?

  • Reply Jon Townsend February 5, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    So sad that structures are so called listed, but nobody is taking the responsibility for looking after them. Listing is pointless if they are left to crumble. Hopefully your interventions will get these people off their arses and doing their job properly.

  • Reply Henrys Adventures February 5, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Another brilliant video, I love how you climbed into the tunnel from above. Well done for getting Cadw to act on taking care of these historic structures!

  • Reply davie941 February 5, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    hey paul and rebecca , another great video , lots of memories braught back to me , used to explore that place when i was a kid , i never found the tunnel lol , great stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Richard Evans February 5, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Fare doโ€™s to you both itโ€™s amazing you found these bloody things lol just stay safe as wales riddled with this sort of stuff. Itโ€™s great your bringing to the wider attention your exploration success ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  • Reply Oxford Greg February 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Hi there Paul and Rebecca,
    As ever, wonderful video… Gorgeous crisp morning there!
    If you are interested, there are lots more very early lines further to the west at the other end of the National Park. I can recommend a book "The Brecon Forest Tramroads: the Archaeology of an Early Railway System" by Stephen Hughes (ISBN: 9781871184068). Published back in 1990 by the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales. Lovely book.

  • Reply Andrew Holloway February 5, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    7:52 all I can say is 'wow'! And it has been in remarkable condition for such a length of time.

  • Reply Richard Evans February 5, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Your welsh pronunciation needs a little working on lol but but brilliant effort guys really impressed with what youโ€™ve achieved ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  • Reply Michaela Watkins February 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Very enjoyable. Hopefully, following your efforts this site and the tunnel can be preserved and managed for future generations. Great stuff.

  • Reply T. van Oosterhout February 5, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    This is something quite significant! I am, of course, talking about Paul entering a tunnel. Bravo! But do keep your safety in mind. Again an interesting and enjoyable video, I especially like those landscapes that bear their scars so beautifully.

  • Reply Andrew Holloway February 5, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    A nice little video, thank you very much.

  • Reply daniel104 Holden-Storey February 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I love the way your videos start with a very quiet, โ€˜Good morning everybodyโ€ฆ.โ€™ How could anybody not watch your video with your advert of half your body lodged in a hole! Your excitement is contagious and it is great that yet again you are willing to get involved to help the structures which clearly need support โ€“ brilliant you two.

  • Reply John Still John February 5, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    That's a superb find, mate – who takes a wheelbarrow there and leaves it behind…?

  • Reply Bob Parsons February 5, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Yeah good one indeed.

  • Reply Douglas Fleetney February 5, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Fantastic. Thank you so much for showing interest in the Tram/Dram Roads. If not for them we would never have had the Railways. Wonderful video, thanks again.

  • Reply John Bennett February 5, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Great video!

  • Reply Wills! Get Off February 5, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Really enjoyed this vlog guys, hopefully with your intervention they will start to look after the tunnels, particularly the collapses.

  • Reply Alistair Shaw February 5, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Great to see such an early tunnel, and even better that you got a positive reaction from CADH, when you spoke to them. So much of our heritage is being lost.
    We had early tram roads and railways in Scotland too. We even had Scottish Standard Gauge for a wee while, it was 4' 6".

  • Reply Flight Image February 5, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Great video, stunning scenery and excellent editing as always. Oh, and loved the rant! What you are doing, in raising awareness of the need to protect our heritage, is exemplary!

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