Cwm Dare (Dare Valley)
The village of Cwmdare was built in the 1850's to house the workers of the mines in the valley. Before this, Dare Valley had been home to just a few farmhouses and small holdings.
The Coal Industry in Cwmdare
Coal mining in Cwmdare (Dare Valley) is recorded from 1851 but it is thought that some mining had taken place before that. There were four main collieries in the valley:
- Cwmdare Colliery
- Merthyr Dare Colliery
- Nantmelin Colliery
- Bwllfa Dare Colliery
Railways in Dare Valley
Two railways served Cwmdare. The Vale of Neath Railway was a part of the Great Western Railway and reached Bwllfa in 1857. It crossed two timber viaducts built by Isombard Kingdom Brunel. The second line opened in 1866 and followed the River Dare from Aberdare. This line was operated by the Taff Vale Railway. Both lines were adapted for use as roads or paths into Dare Valley Country Park.
Dare Valley Country Park
Work to reclaim the valley floor in Dare Valley began in 1971. Coal tips were removed, the River Dare was re-routed and two lakes were created. Dare Valley Country Park was opened in 1973 and now features a visitor centre, camping and caravanning, walks and a diverse range of flora and fauna.