The Living Levels Landscape Partnership

The Gwent Levels

We recently had news of an exciting new project that is in its formative stages thanks to a Heritage Lottery Funded programme called “The Living Levels Landscape Partnership”.

The project has its roots way back in March 2014 when the first Community Engagement even took place.

Two years later the project is now in its “Development Year” where the members of the development team are seeking the engagement of local groups like ours to become involved and to take an active role in its progression. The Gwent levels is one of the largest surviving areas of ancient grazing marshes and reen (drainage ditch) systems in Britain, stretching all the way from Wentloog in Cardiff almost to Chepstow.  They are entirely the work of man, having been recurrently flooded and reclaimed from the sea from the Roman period onwards. In later years the`Marcher’ lords started settling their newly acquired estates, including the Levels, with English tenants. In south-west Wales, the English often made use of Flemish entrepreneurs to create new villages. In the Gwent Levels, there is no direct evidence for Dutch or Flemish involvement, but one planned village, Whitson, does show similarities with a system of reclamation used in Holland, known as the `cope’. In this system, farms were laid out in a single line on slightly elevated land, with the tenement plots stretching out, in a distinctive manner, in long strips towards the lower ground.

Those of you with a good memory will remember Channel 4’s  Time Team floundering around in the mud for three days on the Gwent Levels foreshore in this episode from February 2004.

On Thursday 17th November 2016, the committee members of the ACS were delighted to meet with  the Living Levels Community Development Officer Gavin Jones who gave  an overview of the project and discussed what role the society could play in the project. Gavin also provided a newsletter for our members which can be read  Here

Discussions with the Partnership are at an early stage at the moment, but we will keep you updated as they progress.  If the project secures second stage funding in July 2017 it will run for a three year period from 2018 to 2020.

Best Regards


references accessed on Wednesday 30/11/16




Cyfarthfa Park Roman Excavation – Volunteers needed!

Hi , we hope you are all having a great summer. Sorry for the lack of digs this year, but here is something that should hopefully whet your appetite, get your trowels a-tingling and your wellies a-wobbling.
We had news of an exciting event from Rodger (our Archaeologist) this week which we would like to share with you .

Would you like to be a volunteer on a major archaeological investigation, working with the Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Trust ?
The Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Trust in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust are actively seeking volunteers to help with the excavation and trenching works on a Roman site in Cyfarthfa Park.
If you would like to be a part of this exciting project, further  details can be found here:
If you are wondering where Cyfarthfa Park is, here is a google map of the location
Registration to take part in the project is essential, If you are interested in attending please send your contact details to
Good Luck and Best Regards,
Nigel  Thomas
(ACS Social Media Officer and Web Site Administrator )
Please note that this is not an Ancient Cwmbran Society organised event , therefore we will be unable to assist or answer any questions you may have.

A tour of Roman Caerleon

IMG_0852On Saturday 30th April 2016 the ACS spent the day at Caerleon, with our venerable Archaeologist as a most knowledgeable and entertaining   guide.  We visited the Barracks , the Amphitheatre , the Baths and the Museum with a spot of lunch in the pleasant surroundings of the Hanbury Arms.

There was almost a modern day Gladitorial  contest within the Amphitheatre when a young father was politely requested to stop his small son climbing all over the  walls of the preserved monument.  The aforementioned (supposedly responsible)  adult took great offence at the request  ( it’s only a pile of old stones innit ? )  and  (what’s  it got to do with you , my kid can play where he likes ) before lumbering  off , his knuckles making little streaks along the finely mown grass  to continue  his football game within those ancient walls. The child was later seen still engaged in his mountaineering activities with his father looking on.

We cannot corroborate reports that a similar looking young man was later seen to be chased by an older somewhat agitated bearded gentleman wildly swinging a CADW sign in wide swinging chopping motions .

To see some photos of the trip , please click the link below which will take you to our Flickr photo album.

Good Friday Walk 2016

I have had so many emails this week , I thought it would be a good idea to let everybody know that

 The ACS will not be taking part in the Good Friday Walk this year

but the Twm-Barlwm Society and other groups will be making their way up there as usual.


Richard Davies


The Ancient Cwmbran Society holds a monthly Committee Meeting on the first Wednesday of every month.

During the meeting held in January, our good friend and Co-Founder of the Ancient Cwmbran Project, Richard Davies, tendered his resignation from the Committee.

A little history for anybody who may not be aware of our beginnings, it was due to the interest and determination to find out more about the local woods by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price, that the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian Project was created. A £48,000 grant was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore Greenmeadow Woods along with some other previously unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow and Thornhill areas.

This all happened way back in 2009, and the project really struck a chord with the local population ( and surprisingly with many others from outside the area) being a huge success with some 200 people showing interest in the Project. The work was carried out by volunteers from the local community and celebrated the medieval pilgrim heritage of the area through a complimentary art project, and produced a large carved effigy of St Derfel. A medieval crop growing project was established and circular heritage walk leaflet was produced for the area, along with a most informative publication entitled “Warriors, Saints and Lords”.

When the Project ended, it was mainly due to the drive and determination of Richard that the Ancient Cwmbran Society was founded, with its inaugural meeting held in Henllys Village hall on June 14th 2011.

It was with some reluctance that we accepted Richards resignation from the Committee, but please be rest assured that Richard will continue to remain a friend of the Ancient Cwmbran Society, and will continue to support the Society during the transition period and will continue to join our activities as a Friend of the ACS.

On a personal note, I, and probably many others, will miss Richard’s vast wealth of knowledge and boundless energy and enthusiasm that we have all been graced with over the past 8 years.

I am sure that you will join me in wishing Richard every success in his future endeavours.

Best Regards


On behalf of the ACS Committee.

2015 in review

Hello Dear Followers ,

WordPress has published a report about our “Latest News” blog  which I thought you may find interesting

( I did,  but then I write it all, so I would  )

Best Regards


Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.