Report - Porthmawr Colliery Water Adit (Springvale) Upper Cwmbran, South Wales. May 2010

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28DL Full Member
Jan 4, 2010
Outcrops of coal which were part of the presently named 'Gwent coal basin'. attracted attention as early as 1698 where a record exists of a deed relating to Thomas Arnolds 'coleworks' which was sold to Major John Hanbury of Pontypool.

In 1793 a member of the Hanbury family through marriage a Mr. Thomas Stoughton, an Irishman from Ballyhorgan, who was previously manager of John Hanbury's works in Pontypool used his money to invest in the mining activities of coal and iron ore and took out a lease additional land belonging to a Mr. Jones of Glyn Bran Farm. As an additional note in 1797 Thomas stoughton became Sheriff of Monmouthshire.

In 1837, two separate levels were driven in to the eastern slopes of Mynydd Maen (Mountain of Stones) Aptly named as No's 1 &2 levels to work coal and clay for the local brickworks. No 2 level was also known as the clay level because it produced primarily 'fire clay'

Opened by Reginald.J.Blewitt who lived at Llantarnam Abbey with it's great Gate or Magna Porta (latin) which translated into Welsh is Porthmawr. In 1843 Blewitt's colliers went on strike because he announced that with the agreement of other South Wales mine owners, that they were going to reduce their wages by 5d a ton. The result of the strike was that several miners were sentenced to one months hard labour for breaking their contract. The collier's reluctantly returned to work! Several years later Blewitt experienced financial difficulties and in 1852 it was sold to John Lawrence. Also in 1852 in a plan of early mines of the area it shows the underground workings and a tunnel running all the way to pontypool.

This tunnel constructed in 1897 was meant as a drainage adit for the main drift, it continues in for approx 700m then ends at a bricked union to the adjoining main tunnel with the spring water being led from the main drift into a 9" iron pipe which is now in pieces. Looking to the right from the end there is a 2ft hole in the red brickwork which leads into the main drift which still has its rails and 'cold spark' bell wire in places. Through the hole into the main tunnel which is a good 18" higher than the water adit, to the left there is a large collapse and no further way on can be made.. to the right the tunnel continues for some 600m until a bricked and blocked end is reached. The air in both tunnels contains less than 15% O2 and caution should be taken not to over-exert as breathlessness prevails! Even a lighter will not ignite in these conditions. No mid-shaft jerk off for me this time :D



You really need to see this one full size to appreciate it.













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