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This area comprises the three Preserved Counties of Gwent, Mid Glamorgan and South Glamorgan,
which were created by the Local Government Act 1972. In surface area terms Mid and South Glamorgan are both relatively small although densely populated, so I have included them with Gwent.
In fact, centring on Cardiff and Newport, virtually the whole of the southern coastal area is densely populated spreading up the valleys as far as Merthyr Tydfil
and the Heads of the Valleys road (the A465). North of there the countryside changes completely to the remote beauty of the Brecon Beacons.
Pipe bridges are generally amongst of the dullest structures to be seen along our rivers and canals.
The Abertaf Feeder Pipe Footbridge near Abercynon is something of an exception, and even warrants its own rather handsome memorial.
The memorial, in the shape of the prow of a canal boat, commemorates the restoration and reopening of the bridge in 1997.
The bridge was originally built in 1857 to supply the Glamorganshire Canal with water.
It carried a feeder from a weir at Fiddlerʼs Elbow (about 200m north of here, where the current A472 bridge now stands) across the river.
From there the feeder ran roughly parallel to the Pen-y-darren Tramway (now the Taff Trail) down to join the canal at Navigation (now known as Abercynon).
The transporter bridges ares very rare, whatever way you count them. Wikipedia lists 26 in all; of which 13 have been demolished.
Out of the survivors only eight remain in use, two of which are recently installed small human-powered footbridges.
It was designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin, and opened by Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar on 12 September 1906.
For details of opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the Visitor Centre's official site, detailed below.
N.B. The bridge is closed until Spring 2023 as they are building a new visitor centre.
Outside the fire station in Abercynon stands a memorial to the first ever steam hauled railway journey.
It was on the 21 February 1804 that a locomotive built and driven by Richard Trevithick
successfully carried ten tons of iron, five wagons and seventy men along the 9.75 miles (15.69 km) Merthyr Tramroad
from the Penydarren Ironworks to the basin of the Glamorganshire Canal which once occupied this spot.
Admittedly it took over four hours, but everything has to start somewhere.
Richard Trevithick's steam locomotive
Information on the line and the replica of the locomotive from the Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales https://museum.wales/articles/1012/Richard-Trevithicks-steam-locomotive/