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Local Attractions

Rhondda Heritage Park

Based at the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery, Rhondda Heritage Park is a living testament to the mining communities of the World famous Rhondda Valleys.

Arts Factory

Arts Factory is an independent Development Trust based in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales.

Arts Factory works to 'build a stronger community' by generating income through enterprise and using it to provide community facilities and services.

Arts Factory was established in 1990 by local people who were sick of being labelled as "problems" and wanted to create solutions.

Arts Factory is a membership organisation. Membership costs £1 a year and is open to anyone who shares our values. Arts Factory currently has over 1300 members.

Arts Factory is a member of the Development Trust Association

Clydach Vale Country Park

This site covers 113 hectares and was reclaimed between 1985 and 1987. The closure of Cambrian Colliery left the area derelict. £2.5 million was spent returning the area to its pre-industrial beauty. Whilst providing land for housing, industry and recreation this now peaceful environment incorporates lakes, streams, trees, scrubland which provide a varied habitat for many forms of wildlife.

Cambrian Memorial Garden

The peaceful setting of the monument and memorial garden stand in stark contrast to the hardship, deprivation and tragedy endured by the miners to whom this tribute is dedicated. A piece of beauty and tranquillity, a place to reflect upon the changing face of Rhondda.

Tonypandy Town Centre

An official strike commenced on November 1910, involving 11,500 men and boys employed by the Cambrian Combine. One week later scuffles broke out between striking miners and massive police reinforcements protecting non union workers at Glamorgan 'Scotch' Colliery, resulted in the strikers being forced back, by baton charges and mounted police, to Tonypandy Square. Windows were smashed and a number of shops looted. This incident became infamous as the Tonypandy Riots.

Tonypandy Mill

Between 1738 and the latter part of the 18th Century, cloth and flannel, spun and woven from the wool of local sheep, were bleached at this mill. The Mill gave the township its name, Tonypandy 'the meadow of the fulling mill'. In 1914 unsuccessful attempts were made to dismantle the loom and wheel for transfer to the National Museum of Wales.

Glamorgan 'Scotch' Colliery Power House

All that remains of what became the Rhondda's chief colliery is the Power House, which has been declared a listed building. Sunk by Archibald Hood, who came to Rhondda from Kilmarnock in 1860, at it's peak the 'Scotch' produced 2000 tons of coal a day. The colliery was at the centre of the Cambrian Combine dispute of 1910-11, which resulted in the infamous Tonypandy Riots.

Statue of Archibald Hood

Erected in 1906 in the grounds of Llwynypia Miners Library and Institute, this statue was unveiled by William Abraham (Mabon), Rhondda's first MP.

Llwynypia Terraces ('Scotch Row')

Built by Archibald Hood from 1865 onward, to house his workers close to the colliery site, these attractive terraces were constructed to a high standard, incorporating wide windows and private gardens. Considered a classic example of Town Planning Layout, prior to the sanitary controls of the 1870's, the terraces contributed to 1 Archibald Hood's reputation as'a man of progressive turn of mind'.

Bronze Sculpture

Erected by the Rhondda Civic Society, funded by public and corporate donations, this imposing bronze sculpture of a miner, wife . and baby being nursed 'Welsh' fashion, pays tribute to the mining communities of Rhondda.

Nantgwyddon Picnic Park

This pleasant picnic area, set amidst rising mountain slopes, adjacent to Glyncornel, is an ideal location to enjoy a respite from your journey.

Glyncornel (Corner of the Glen)

Situated in 75 acres of natural woodland Glyncornel is rich in history and environmental interest. Within the grounds lies an area of sessile oak woodland which has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest,
3 waymarked walks for you to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, magnificent views, a lake stocked for fly fishing and a variety of wildlife.

Glyncornel House

Built between 1903/1909 this grand house, owned by Sir Leonard Llewellyn, General Manager of Cambrian Combine, was used as a hospital from 1959. Taken over by Rhondda Borough Council in 1979, winner of a Prince of Wales Award, the house now incorporates a tourist education centre, museum, environmental study centre and a 60 bed Youth Hostel.

Hen dre'r Gelli (The old town of Gelli)

Site of a prehistoric town high on Mynydd v Gelli are remains of an Iron Age Hut Settlement and Bronze Age Stone Circle and Burial Chamber excavated at the turn of the century.The strenuous 2 mile walk to this site affords magnificent views of Rhondda Fawr.

Melin y Horn

A lengthy walk brings you to the remains of a former water mill, used in the 13th Century, by Cistercian Monks of Penrhys Monastery.

Maendy Camp Site

Located high on Mynydd Maendy this Iron Age defensive enclosure is protected by rocky slopes on three sides and marshland on the fourth. These natural defences, strengthened by dry stone walls, formed an easily defended passage-way. Excavations in 1901 yielded a Bronze Age Cairn containing flints, pottery and part of a dagger.

Bwich y Clawdd Picnic Park

This secluded picnic park and adventure playground, set amidst the pine forest, offers barbecue facilities and ample car parking.

Gorsedd Circle

Nearby is the site of the 1928 National Eisteddfod. The impressive bardic circle remains, dominating a new housing development.

Park and Dare Theatre

Built between 1903-1913 using subscriptions from miners' wages, this impressive building is now owned by Rhondda Borough Council. Extensive renovation has made this a centre of excellence for cinema and the performing arts. Presently housed in the Theatre is a comprehensive exhibition on the life Of Paul Robeson, donated by Mrs Martha Edwards. Also on view, is the main auditorium and short films on Rhondda.

Penpych -'The Sentinel'

This imposing mountain dominates the upper Rhondda Fawr. Picnic and barbecue facilities have been installed on site and the area is a prime example of the benefits of reclamation, with the planting of broad-leaved trees cing the natural beauty An impressive array of natural landscape features and wildlife complement this peaceful setting. The more energetic can follow the invigorating Blaencwm Forest Walk of two miles to the summit of Penpych.

Blaenrhondda Conservation Area

The small mining village of Blaenrhondda nestles in the narrow flat valley bottom on either side of the River Rhondda. This small linear settlement is shielded between Mynydd Blaenrhondda and Mynydd Ystrad Ffernol.
Another magnificent vantage point for spectacular views of upper Rhondda Fawr. A number of forestry walks emanate from this point, allowing the visitor to get close to nature.

Hen dre'r Mynydd

Following the old parish road between Rhigos and Ystradafodwg an attractive 2 mile walk takes you past the site of this early Iron Age Settlement. Here remains of the stone-built hut circles and stock enclosures can still be seen. The route then descends to the head of this glaciated valley before passing three beautiful waterfalls flowing over the outcropping pennant sandstone.

Shrine to Our Lady of Penrhys

A place of pilgrimage over many centuries, this site was home to Cistercian monks from Liantamam Abbey, Monmouthshire, who built a Grange to enable them to live a simple agricultural life. legend goes that they discovered an ornate statue of the Holy Mother and built a chapel and shrine to house it. As a result Penrhys became a centre of pilgrimage. The original statue was destroyed by Thomas Cromwell at the time of the Dissolution. The present statue, carved from Portland Stone, was erected in 1953.

St Mary's Well

The original statue of the Holy Mother was reputed to have been found near the well. The location of the statue and the well, the waters of which were reputed to have miraculous healing powers, drew pilgrims to the site to pay homage and be healed.

Darran Park, Ferndale

Nestling under towering crags the park complements this beautiful setting. Beneath the crags which rise to 1384 ft. lies a natural lake Llyn y Forwen which is used for fishing. The park also offers amongst other facilities an open air swimming pool and All Weather Playing Surface. A beautiful and peaceful oasis within the bustling town of Ferndale.

'Old Smokey'(Tylorstown Tip)

A journey through the village of Blaenllechau, perched high on the side of the mountain, on up the very steep, narrow winding mountain road, brings you to this impressive landmark. Built up of masses of colliery spoil the achievement of transporting the spoil to this seemingly inaccessible spot would be unbelievable, were you not to see it with your own eyes. The panoramic views from this vantage point are well worth the visit.

Mardy Miners Memorial

Situated in the pleasant surroundings of Maerdy Park, this coal filled dram pays tribute to all miners and their communities. Mardy was the last colliery to close in Rhondda on 21 st December 1990. This memorial marks the closure of Mardy Colliery and the end of the 150 year history of coal mining in Rhondda. Maerdy town is of historic interest, it was here that the great depression began in the 1920's and 1930's, quickly spreading through the rest of Rhondda. Maerdy earned its nickname 'Little Moscow' as a result of the militancy of its workforce.

Rhondda Fach Gateway

Another of Rhondda's spectacular viewing platforms, this site affords access to the Graig y Llyn walk incorporating Lluest Wen reservoir. At the extreme end of the valley below is the site of Mardy Colliery opened in 1875 and finally closed in December 1990. The vast area of land which housed this, the town's largest employer, can clearly be seen. Directly opposite lies Castell Nos, a prominent natural prominence, rising to a rocky height of l3OOft.On this site stood a castle believed to have been built in the 13th century by Maredudd ap Caradog, a native ruler of Rhondda, as a border defence of his territory.
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