South Wales is one of the UK’s most significant mining heritage locations, with iron, copper and coal forming the heart of the Valleys for hundreds of years.
And in 2018, the whole nation is invited to celebrate and commemorate this industrial history with a visit from the now-iconic Man Engine.
The giant miner will visit eight of south Wales’s most important industrial heritage locations for a week of celebrations from 08 – 12 April 2018.
The colossal feat of engineering will visit Big Pit, Blaenavon Ironworks, Ebbw Vale Steelworks, Cyfarthfa Park and Castle, Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, the National Waterfront Museum Swansea, Swansea City Centre and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks as part of his journey across Wales, entitled: “Man Engine Cymru: forging a nation”.
The Welsh tour is a collaboration among the cultural sector in Wales, with Swansea University working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), National Museums Wales, five local authorities (Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr, Rhondda and Swansea), Head 4 Arts and Golden Tree Productions.
The Welsh visit forms part of the Man Engine’s 2018 Resurrection Tour, which will see the 11.2m tall puppet steam across some of the UK’s most significant mining heritage sites, including locations in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire.
Animated by a team of more than a dozen ‘miners’, the giant puppet will begin his grand tour of Wales on 08 April with an opening ceremony at Big Pit and a parade down to Blaenavon Ironworks.
Next stop will be Bryn Bach Park on 09 April - here Man Engine will come face to face with Aneurin Bevan MP and the miners, colliers, quarrymen and ironworkers who clubbed together to form Tredegar Workingmens Medical Aid Society.
On 10 April, the Man Engine will visit Cyfarthfa Park and Castle – the former home of Ironmaster William Crawshay II and his family – offering a poignant reminder of the Ironmaster’s dominance over Merthyr and the wealth of the iron industry in the Valleys.
Meanwhile, visitors can watch the monumental machine steam into Ynysangharad War Memorial Park on 11 April.
The tour will culminate on 12 April, with nostalgic displays at the National Waterfront Museum Swansea, a city parade and an evening finale at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks.
Further information and tickets to witness the week of spectacles will be released via the Man Engine website in January.
To find out more about the “Man Engine Cymru: forging a nation” tour or to discover the story behind the magnificent Man Engine visit www.themanengine.co.uk.
Park & Ride
Free shuttle buses will run a 15-30 minute service between Old Mill Car Park in Pontypool and Blaenavon Ironworks, with the first bus departing Old Mill Car Park, Trosnant Street at 10:00. The last bus will leave the Ironworks at 17:50. The buses will stop at every marked bus stop en-route and will run via both Cwmavon and Varteg Hill. See park & ride timetable.
As much as possible, we would encourage visitors to use the free shuttle buses as parking in the Blaenavon World Heritage Site is limited. Limited Parking will be available at the Garn Lakes overflow car park (follow signage to this car park) and Blaenavon Heritage Railway car park. There will be a shuttle bus picking up from these car parks and taking visitors to the Ironworks. This will run a 15/20 minute service.
Limited parking for drivers displaying a valid Blue Badge ONLY is available at Blaenavon Ironworks car park. Follow the “Disabled Parking” signs.
Big Pit Car Park
There is limited parking at the Big Pit, which a parking charge of £3. Due to the road closure, access to this car park is only available before 10:00, and users will not be able to leave the site until 14:00. If you need to leave before 14:00 please find alternative parking.
There will be a full road closure in operation from 10:00 until 17:30 on Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate, Kennard Place and Estate Road.
In order for the event to run smoothly, we request that no vehicles are parked along Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate, Kennard Place and Estate Road. In addition, no parking cones will be placed along Church Road from Kennard Place to Stable Row to ensure ease of access for the shuttle bus and other vehicles.
Portaloos will be located in Rhymney Brewery car park and Blaenavon Ironworks car park. There are also toilets available at the Big Pit and Blaenavon Ironworks.
St John’s Ambulance will be attending the event. As well as providing para-medics across the event site, the First Aid point will be located in Blaenavon Ironworks car park.
St John’s Ambulance will provide the point for Lost and Found children, located in Blaenavon Ironworks car park.
Waste & Recycling
There will be waste and recycling bins located in Rhymney Brewery car park and Blaenavon Ironworks car park. We ask that you either use these bins or take your waste home with you.