Blaenavon’s Industrial landscape became a World Heritage Site in December 2000. It is a landscape shaped by human hand, dating from the early days of the Industrial Revolution - a significant stage in human evolution, when the iron and coal industries of South Wales were of global importance.
The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape is an important place of study of the Industrial Revolution and is an ideal venue for schools studying changes in people’s daily lives in the 19th century and changes that happened in Wales, Britain and the wider world between 1760 and 1914. It is also an excellent case-study for students of urban decline and economic regeneration.
The Blaenavon World Heritage Site now boasts three visitor attractions which offer full-time, dedicated educational services to schools, colleges and adult learners – Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Blaenavon Ironworks and Big Pit: National Coal Museum.
The Blaenavon World Heritage Centre was established to provide a focal reference point to the area’s rich industrial legacy, telling the story of the people who have shaped this landscape from the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution to the present day using a range of media including film, audio, graphics and interactive displays.
Big Pit: National Coal Museum offers guided underground tours conducted by former coal miners. The restored pithead baths features displays and interactive exhibitions enabling visitors to learn about the history of coal mining, and the people who lived and worked in coal mining communities in Wales.
Blaenavon Ironworks, the setting of the BBC television series Coal House and Coal House at War, is the most significant historical feature within the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape. Today you can view the extensive remains of the blast furnaces, cast houses and iconic water-balance tower. Within the site, a fascinating insight into the social history during the Industrial Revolution can be seen in the reconstructed company ‘truck’ shop, 19th century workers’ cottages, and of course, the Coal House cottages.
The Forgotten Landscapes Project is developing complementary educational activities utilising the opportunities presented by the historical and natural assets in the landscape beyond the 3 main sites such as investigating rocks and fossils or exploring habitats.
Adult learners are offered a range of courses covering local history, archaeology and the natural environment. Through our volunteer ranger programme, adults can also gain new skills and take advantage of training opportunities.