The village sits at the top of the Amman Valley in the shadow of the Black Mountain. Notable people from Brynaman include Roy Noble, broadcaster and Dafydd Iwan, folk singer and politician.
The A4059 road which climbs north from the village affords spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons and Mid Wales. The old limestone and silica quarries here were recently the focus of a research, conservation and interpretation project, CALCH (Welsh for ‘lime’). Stop at the Black Mountain Quarry and take a walk across the mountain to see more of the fascinating wildlife, geology and industrial heritage of the area.
Also known as Herbert’s Quarry, this is a large area of abandoned limestone quarries in a stunning location on Black Mountain. The site has panoramic views over the Fforest Fawr Geopark and the west part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
For centuries, the limestone in this hillside was quarried away and burnt in kilns to produce lime (or calch) for use as an agricultural fertiliser, in the building trade for plaster and mortar, and in many industrial processes such as iron productions. Once quarried from the hillside, the limestone was burnt in a kiln to produce quicklime, a very useful but very corrosive and dangerous substance.
Farmers from both sides of the mountain would travel to the quarries with their horse and cart in the spring to extract and burn the limestone, then transport the quicklime back to their farms to put to good use. Over time the production of lime from the quarries grew and grew, and eventually it was exploited on a commercial scale. The quarry closed and production ceased in the 1950s.
The Black Mountain Quarries are a time capsule of a very important aspect of Welsh industrial heritage. There are physical traces of lime exploitation spanning many hundreds of years with quarry workings, lime kilns, and spoil heaps from small scale local exploitation of the 1700s to large industrial use in the 20th century. As you explore the site, you are walking in the footsteps of many thousands of people whose hard work, sweat and drudgery shaped this landscape and left a rich industrial legacy.
Why not head to Pen Rhiw Ddu to go Stargazing.
The car park off the winding road between Llandeilo and Brynamman over the Black Mountain is a great location as there is good access from the Swansea Valley and plenty of room for telescopes. It also overlooks the darkness of Mid and West Wales with the skies here enjoying a limiting magnitude of 6.31.
The 97 mile long Beacons Way passes through this area on its way from Bethlehem to Abergavenny. You can enjoy shorter and more sheltered walks from the Black Mountain Centre.
Visit Brynaman cinema to watch the latest films, including in 3D. Brynaman Public Hall and Cinema was built in the 1920s and funded by the “check off” system where weekly contributions were deducted from miners’ wagers. To this day the cinema is run by volunteers.
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