Explore the industrial past of the
Blaenavon World Heritage Site.
Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway is set within the stunning UNESCO-listed Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
During the nineteenth century, Blaenavon found itself at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, quickly becoming the world’s major iron and coal producer. The rural landscape was transformed as heavy industry boom, and in the 1860s our railway was constructed to carry coal to the Midlands and Newport Docks, enabling the area to thrive for the rest of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, Blaenavon’s fortunes dramatically changed during the twentieth century as heavy industry declined. Blaenavon Ironworks closed in 1924, with Big Pit colliery closing in 1980 – our railway finally closing to freight traffic that same year.
Although Blaenavon’s prospects appeared bleak, its rich and important history was not to go unrecognised. In 2000, UNESCO listed the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape as a World Heritage Site for its role as the world’s major iron and coal producer. As the organisation commented, the area constitutes an ‘exceptional illustration’ of the social and economic structure of the nineteenth century, being an ‘outstanding and remarkably complete example’ of a ninetieth-century landscape.
Today the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape contains numerous attractions that tell its rich history. These include the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon Ironworks, and the World Heritage Centre. Other local businesses such as the Rhymney Brewery Visitor Centre and Blaenafon Cheddar Company ensure that Blaenavon has something for many tastes!
Combining your visit:
A round trip on our railway lasts approximately one hour, and we highly recommend combining your visit to us with that to another of the attractions in the Industrial Landscape. On most running days your ticket is valid all day, so why not alight at one of our station, explore another attraction and then return on a later train?
Furnace Sidings: Garn Lakes, Coity Tip Trail
Big Pit Halt: Big Pit National Coal Museum, Rhymney Brewery visitor centre
Blaenavon High Level: Town centre attractions (including the World Heritage Centre and Blaenavon Ironworks), local shops and restaurants, Pontypool to Blaenavon Cycle Route.
Whistle Inn Halt: Whistle Inn public house, Garn Lakes
Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway cannot take responsibility for the provision of events, facilities and services at other attractions. Please check with the relevant attraction ahead of your visit.
Big Pit Mining Museum
Blaenavon World Heritage Centre
Visit Blaenavon for other attractions and more information on what Blaenavon's Industrial landscape offers!