The restoration of Pontrhydyfen’s historic Bont Fawr aqueduct is well and truly underway, as pictures of the work in progress show the scale of the project and the amount of scaffolding used for the 75 foot high bridge.
Neath Port Talbot Council received consent from CADW, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, to carry out the work on the listed structure as part of this year’s Highways Works Programme.
The 19th Century aqueduct was built by the ironmaster John Reynolds to supply waterwheels at the Oakwood Ironworks.
It was listed as a Grade II historical structure in 2000 as it is one of the few surviving structures related to the use of water power in the iron industry in the region and is among the finest surviving works of civil engineering in from early 19th Century Wales.
Despite its’ links to South Wales’ iron industry, Bont Fawr aqueduct is perhaps more commonly known for featuring as the breath-taking backdrop for some Pontrhydyfen born and bred Richard Burton’s most iconic photographs.
The aqueduct is also a much-used footpath, part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network and host of the Richard Burton Annual Fun Run.
Council Leader, Ali Thomas OBE said
“I am pleased to see the progress on the Bont Fawr aqueduct which represents the rich history we have in our valleys in Neath Port Talbot.
“It has stood for almost 200 years and will now be protected for many years to come following the sympathetic restoration works.”
Carrying out the restoration work on the aqueduct is Neath-based construction business, Ian Davies Ltd.
Managing Director, Ian Davies said:
“We are delighted to be the main contractor on the restoration of the Bont Fawr aqueduct.
“So far we have scaffolded, repaired the masonry and repointed the structure as it would have been when it was built in 1824-7.
The project is one of the largest the firm has ever undertaken in its 43 years of operating, despite having built around 40 bridges in the Neath Port Talbot region.
“It certainly isn’t an easy job, it took a lot of scaffolding, but it is a job we are very proud of,” said Mr Davies, who employs up to 20 staff.
“We look forward to stepping back and seeing the end result, knowing that we have breathed new life into one of Neath Port Talbot’s most iconic pieces of architecture.”