History and Heritage

Tree Felling, 2018

In this article, Val Trevallion looks at January 2018's tree-felling programme from the perspective of landslips in the Ystalyfera area, including the one that forced her from her home in the 1980s, and the subsequent 2012 landslip at Pantteg.


Beginning on 15th January the landscape along the Cyfyng Road Ystalyfera is about to change again as an order has been given to remove certain trees which may or may not present a hazard within the landslip area. However in December 2017, we had an addition which again may or may not aid the moving mountain from spewing its contents on to the roadway and beyond. I personally am thankful for at least up until now the people responsible for building the new wall have left a ring of cones around its base, as I remember only too well when we lived in the cottage opposite Pantteg Chapel in 1986 there was an almighty explosion one night and when my husband and I ran down to the road we found that a car had hit the slab of concrete at the base of a telegraph pole which only jutted out a few inches from the kerb and unfortunately the driver had died.

In November temporary traffic lights on Mount hill were placed there whilst the men commenced work on building the wall, which was built to jut slightly on to the road because as I understand it, it was not advisable to dig into the mountain in case it became unstable. However please take care especially after dark, and my readers probably are aware, as I research the local cemeteries I have many files especially belonging to children who in years gone by when the road from Gough Road to Church Road was much narrower than today, met their deaths playing on said stretch of roadway.

Well on a lighter note, the tree felling is to prevent injuries in case they topple. We can all recall what Mother Nature is capable off in 2012, when she decided to rearrange things outside Pantteg Chapel and Vestry.

The trees in question appear to be the ones opposite where the Tin Mans Arms once stood, but I dare say we'll know more when the road is reopened. It could also include the ones on the land roughly opposite the old Royal Oak public house which when I arrived in Pantteg was a bookshop and today the building has been converted to houses⁄flats.

I am trying not very successfully as it happens, to recall a story which Noel the last of the Yeargroup members told me way back in 2004 and have obviously committed the cardinal sin of a researcher, by not writing down a piece of history. He was aware of a special tree which some gentlemen, possibly from the old Ystalyfera iron or tin works had grown from seed. The one that survived was planted and left to its own devices and on one of our tours whereby I drove and he pointed out important places etc, he said the eucalyptus tree was in the stretch of ground now under the proposed tree felling site. Not sure just how long it has been there because the photograph in the book Stepping Stones by Bernant Hughes does not depict the growth of vegetation we see there today. It will be interesting if this one survives because it looked tall, strong and straight when I checked it out last week.

Val Trevallion YEARGROUP

After the Tree-Felling

Looking up Graig-y-Merched from Cyfyng Road   Looking down from Graig-y-Merched onto Cyfyng Rd

Looking down from Graig-y-Merched onto Cyfyng Rd, with ASDA in the distance   As above, looking down the valley towards Ynysmeudwy with the old Tarreni Colliery at the edge of what we can see

Looking down from Graig-y-Merched onto Cyfyng Rd   Where the Tin Man's Arms was, and where they will put a new retaining wall

The New Wall

In the first weeks of February 2018, work on the new retaining wall was completed. Located on Cyfyng Road, in front of where The Tin Man's Arms was in earlier days, the new wall has cut off the pavement where there used to be a raised walkway.


Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge