The Ebbw Fach Trail

Coalbrookvale

"A walk from our industrial past -  

 To our environmentally friendly future."

Cwm lake June 2011  04

Duffryn Park and River Pathway - Page 2

Local Heritage

To the north of the river walk at the Railway Cutting evidence of the railway that opened in December 1850 from Blaina to Newport can be seen.

In 1905 after much local pressure a passenger line called locally “The Missing Link” connected Nantyglo station to Brynmawr.  Officially called the Brynmawr and Western Valley Railway, this line was owned jointly by the LNWR and the Great Western railway.

 

The Pilgrims Gardens

This walk was once buried under industrial waste including ash, spoil and iron ore.

On the plateaux above the walk was once the Pilgrims Gardens created to commemorate the activities of the Blue Pilgrims in Blaina and Nantyglo in the 1920s and 1930s.

They were a group of women from the London area who came to the district in 1928 to “relieve distress and anxiety among the poor and unemployed”.

Work began on the gardens in June 1928 and was led by Mr W G Dix and a few other stalwarts.  They toiled day after day to turn an ugly colliery waste tip into a beautiful garden.

The iron gates into the park came from Ty Mawr, the home of the Bailey brothers, the Nantyglo Ironmasters.

In March 1932, the gardens were visited and greatly admired by the Duke and Duchess of York who would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The gardens were eventually taken over by Nantyglo and Blaina Urban District Council in about 1970 and are now cared for by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

About the wildlife illustrated on the Interpretation Posts.

 

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

The grey heron is the largest heron in Europe - it has a long neck, a strong, dagger-like bill and long yellow legs. They can have a wingspan of up to 175cm.

They  feed mainly on fish, which it hunts by patiently standing completely still at the side of the water, and striking rapidly when a fish comes into range. Amphibians, small mammals and birds may also be eaten.

It breeds either solitarily or in colonies, called heronries - these are usually traditional sites used by successive generations.

 

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

The mallard is the most numerous duck in Britain and can be found in almost every type of lowland wetland, including village ponds, lakes and flood water.

They feed mainly on vegetable matter in the water but during autumn and winter they may feed in fields far from the water.

 

Otter (Luta lutra) *

Otters have been seen in this section of the river.  

They have adapted to their aquatic lifestyle with webbed feet, an ability to close the small ears and the nose when under water, and very dense, short fur which traps a layer of air to insulate the animal.

Otter mothers care for their offspring for about a year; it may take the cubs up to 18 months to learn to fish, and the mother helps this learning process by releasing live fish for the cubs to re-catch.

 

Brown trout (Salmo trutta) *

The brown trout is a beautiful fish, similar in general shape to the salmon.

It feeds on invertebrates, insect larvae, aerial insects, and molluscs, as well as the occasional fish and frog.

They will breed between January and March, when the female will lay her eggs in gravel along the riverbed.

 

* These species are rare in the local area.  As such they have been included in Blaenau Gwent’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which sets out how species and habitats alike can be protected and enhanced.

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The interpretation Posts are located at the bottom of the steps from Victoria Street - photographs below were taken in July 2012.