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Archaeology Cymru explore Victorian saw mill hidden in Cwm Cidi

THIS week takes us to an area of our great Barry and District, where you can actually trace the remains of a building, that can still be found and interpreted. We are to thank for the image this week our very own Richard Enos.

Cwm Cidi, a valley that runs from Pontypridd Road (now partly built upon), has been naturally carved out by the Nant Talwg. The valley contains some old trees; those that had survived the activities of the saw mill with its activities echoing up and down the valley throughout the latter part of the 1800s. Also known as the Mill Wood, thus so named from the Victoria period onwards.

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The image shows the conserved remains; thanks to a few local grants, of the ‘wheel pit’, that carried the very impressive mill wheel that tapped into the power of a Leat (an artificial channel of water, used when the Nant Talwg was running a little dry of water).

Of note interest, the Leat was itself fed by a pond kept in place by a dam.

The dam, no longer in use, was in the 1940s blown up by the Home guard. Why we do not know.

We do know the Saw mill was constructed by the workforce employed by the Romilly family in around 1835, and still in partial use into the 1900s. There is existing photographs of the building from this time.

It is a peaceful spot to visit today, with the occasional sound of the woodpecker. And enough remains to work out the principal buildings, and mill wheel pit, that made up the Saw mill complex, and an interesting information board.

Many thanks for reading this week, more Barry and District History next week.

Karl-James Langford FSAScot, MLitt

Archaeology Cymru

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