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Pioneering Marketing Campaign Heads for a Photo-Finish in the Valleys


An exciting new campaign by ‘The Valleys That Changed The World’ project is about to hit industrial heritage sites in the Valleys. Aimed at taking visitors on an adventure – it uses photo-boards and social media to engage people with ‘pioneers’ from the Industrial Revolution.

Based around the lives of three fictional characters, the ‘Pioneers’ campaign captures the spirit of adventure and expectation faced by the hundreds of thousands of people who , in desperation rapidly moved in to the area during this exciting period in Welsh History.

Cllr Lewis Jones, Executive Member for Regeneration at Torfaen Council, explains:

“We wanted to tie in with Visit Wales’ ‘years of adventure and legends’ by creating fun and creative trails linked to the people who came to our area during the Industrial Revolution – true adventurers who left their old lives behind for the chance of a better life in our Valleys. These really were pioneers of their time”!

The downloadable trails are geographically spread across the Valleys. In the East, we meet Tim, a boy from Ireland who has come over with his family, initially to Blaenavon. In the central area we meet Hetty, who travels from the countryside of Carmarthen to work as a maid for the Crawshays at Cyfartha;  and in the West, we meet Jack, a Cornish lad who has travelled over with the copper ore to the docks in Swansea.

It’s when you start following the trails on the ground that things get fun, as project coordinator Ruth Taylor-Davies explains:

“At three sites on each route, you’ll get to ‘meet’ and have your photo taken with our character at that stage in their story, thanks to our specially commissioned photo-boards. So, at The World Heritage site you find Tim as a fresh-faced boy, but by the end of the route, over 20 years of hard work have taken their toll on him. But that’s not all, you are encouraged to say how your think your character’s story ends, by visiting other sites and letting your creative juices flow. ”. She added… “I’m genuinely excited about the trails. We think we’ve hit on something that people will really love and have fun engaging with, as it fits with the fashion for sharing photos on social media as well as the whole ‘photo booth’ trend that you see in weddings and parties”.

Inspired by the creative approaches adopted by Visit Wales and Cadw during Wales’ Year of Adventure, the project believes it has given a modern twist on the traditional idea of industrial heritage trails and hopes it will help to boost the traditionally quieter winter months at local heritage attractions.

To download the trails, visit:; Follow us on Facebook (The Valleys That Changed The World) or Twitter @TVTCTW

Cllr Jim McIlwee, Blaenau Gwent Council’s Executive Member for the Economy, Infrastructure and Active Living, said:

‘This is an exciting way to expound our history and to encourage visitors to find out more about the Ironworking in Ebbw Vale. The General Office is a magnificent building which celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The building also contains Gwent Archives and the Ebbw Vale Works Museum that document the story of iron and steel in this valley.’

‘The Valleys that Changed the World’ project is led by Torfaen CBC on behalf of a public, private and third sector partners and has received funding from Welsh Government via Visit Wales.

For more information contact Ruth on 0786 2218066/[email protected]