of the rivers Rhondda Fawr and Rhondda Fach
form a vast area contained within a series of
dramatic hills, and before the 19th century
they were verdant and unspoiled.
That changed with the timely discovery of ‘black gold’ and the arrival of an industrial revolution on a grand scale; at one stage the Rhondda supplied at least one third of the world’s coal.
Castell Coch - Photo: Gayle CCL
Rhondda Heritage Park - Photo: Chris Allen CCL
Now that the last mines
have closed the hills are reverting to their
earlier green state and the story of King Coal
is the subject of nostalgia.
One place that should be visited is the Rhondda Heritage Park which contrasts sharply with another local attraction, the fairytale castle of Castell Coch, a romantic ‘folly’ designed by the wealthy 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 19th century.