In The Beginning Was The Woods !
There is a small woodland called Greenmeadow Woods tucked away in a corner of Cwmbran which has been untouched by the development of the New Town.
Luckily for us, part of the master plan when the architects of the New Town were designing the layout was the inclusion of green spaces between the housing developments. Hence, many of the ancient woodland areas still survive.
Greenmeadow Woods has always been the haunt of local residents and dog walkers. Many have noticed the strange, long walls within the woods, and children have often played around them giving little thought to what they could be .
Through our research, we discovered that these walls are made of 350 million year old quartz conglomerate stone, which, for reasons we still do not really understand, were arranged into huge walls some six feet high by four feet (known as 42 inch linear flanked construction). They are too big to be animal enclosures and our experts tell us that they were not built to be used as defenses either.
Our archaeological research on the site has also discovered the existence of a Cist , which is a small stone built coffin like structure which at one time would have held a body. Although robbed out, this is evidence that the area was used as a Bronze Age Burial site.
The Ancient Cwmbran Project
Due to the interest and determination to find out more about the woods by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price,the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian project was created and a £48,000 grant was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore this woodland some other previously unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow and Thornhill, Cwmbran areas.
The Ancient Cwmbran and the Cistercians Project
investigated several sites of archaeological interest in the Thornhill and Greenmeadow areas of Cwmbran over an 18 month period. This work was carried out with the help of volunteers from the community. The project also celebrated the medieval pilgrim heritage of the area through a complementary art project, produced a carved statue of St Derfel, a medieval crop growing project and hopes to generate future tourism to the area.
(left) A classrooom training Session, project members were instructed in Archaeological Techniques
The Ancient Cwmbran Society
The Ancient Cwmbran Project came to an end after its 18 month period of activity, but the Volunteers involved with the project found that there was still so much interest in our local archaeology that the Ancient Cwmbran Society was formed to continue this work .
The Ancient Cwmbran Society has continued to build upon the foundations laid down by the original project , and over several years built up a large membership made up of interested local people and experts alike.
As of 2018, the society is still in operation but we have had to make some important changes in the way we operate. This year we are sorry but we are no longer accepting new members, but if you would like to be added to our mailing list then please drop us a line by going to our “Contact us” page and fill in your details, somebody will reply as soon as possible.