The Pwll Du Tunnel excavation will reveal hitherto lost knowledge from an industrial mining and tramway history, upon which the modern technological world has been built. Legends abound that the last horse to work in the tunnel or mines was shot and buried deep inside in full harness. During the full study of the Pwll Du Tram Tunnel samples will be taken by Rhian Hicks to examine the subterranean biological eco system. A record will be made of the geological strata by Paul Deakin and Andy Farrant. Archaeological artefacts will be photographed and recorded with the assistance of John van Laun and others. New finds will be surveyed to pinpoint their location relative to the existing Coal Authority scale plans.

As an example of a previous manmade tunnel exploration undertaken by Project Co-ordinator Clive Gardener, images here show the Carno Adit Welsh Water tunnel driven some 3km into Mynydd Llangynidr (above Ebbw Vale) towards Cwm Claisfer. After negotiating a hole in the floor, some 5m deep to a water surface, an area of extreme instability was encountered at the Llanelly Shale bands.

Clive Gardener and veteran water tracing expert Bill Gascoine take a break before heading onwards into the unknown. As far as Welsh Water were concerned, this 1909 tunnel ended in a zone of roof collapse. However, Clive Gardener, Bill Gascoine, Rob Parker and Arthur Millett successfully passed the sections where the roof had become the floor. Some 3km into the tunnel, at the end of the original boring operations, were found the last miner’s tools: just as they had been left on the final working day. The stemming rod shows the depth of the hole drilled for blasting, a ladder enables holes to be drilled at roof level and a rusty bucket was found nearby.

Once access to the main Pwll Du - Blaenavon tunnel roadway has been regained sights such as these, with the addition of extensive side workings, tramways and mining equipment, will help form the foundation of the current exploration and research project: as it’s members proceed on their journey back through time and history.

10 photographs to illustrate typical mining works in the area
(Click to enlarge) all © Clive Gardener



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