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.

Our Libraries Are Under Threat!

ACS public awareness campaign.

The Ancient Cwmbran Society tends not to become involved in political activism of any type, but recently we became aware of some proposed cut backs which would affect the very core of our existence,  namely the ability to gather and disseminate records and information held within the public library system.

Did  you know that many Public Libraries are under threat of closure ?

Yes, it’s true.

More than 500 out of the 4500 libraries in the UK are earmarked to close .

Many of us spare little thought for our local library services now that we have instant access to news, books and other media from our phones and other modern devices, but many people are still reliant on our Public Libraries, such as those of an earlier generation who may not feel to comfortable with our modern technology or those without internet access seeking employment.

The Government and Local Authorities have a legal responsibility to provide you with a quality library service that meets your needs. Please click the following link for an explanation of what will happen if these services are eroded by Local Authority cutbacks.

My Library By Right 

How can you help ?

If you feel as strongly as we do about the loss of this essential service , please join us in signing this petition

Petition to stop the cutbacks

Please click the following link to see a map detailing the current situation  closure map


Many Thanks


The Ancient Cwmbran Society.

2015 AGM

5983_1179677505380371_6470429848956748351_nOn Wednesday 16th December the Ancient Cwmbran Society held its Annual General Meeting at the Bush Inn ,Upper Cwmbran .

After the obligatory reports from the Chairman and Treasurer were delivered and officers elected for the coming year,  it was time for a few drinks with old friends at our Christmas Social .

Wishing all our Members past and present and our Facebook and Twitter friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Nadolig Llawen


2015 Annual General Meeting.

We are holding our AGM and our Christmas gathering all at the same time this year.

The meeting will take place at the Bush Pub at 6:30pm on Wednesday 16th December.

At the Bush that night is music and a curry evening Lamb or Chicken £7.50 & £6:50 if you wish to have one please book it. the number for the Bush is 01633 483764.

For anyone who is doesn’t know the location of the Bush Public House, here is a google maps link. (the Bush is lovely cosy little pub with real coal fires when its cold)

Could I ask that if If you are planning come along to the AGM / Christmas gathering, please drop me a line  (Nigel) at so we can reserve another bench if numbers dictate. (it’s not essential since we know that AGM’s are not everybody’s idea of fun , but if everybody reading this post attends, we may need more room)

Many thanks for your support over the past year ,
and if we don’t see you at the AGM,
the Committee wishes you all
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

Nadolig Llawen