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The Place for a Day Out, for the People of Merthyr.

<Click on the Photograph to Enlarge>



Situated in the old parish of Vaynor, Pontsarn developed after the coming of the railways and became a popular destination for a day out in the countryside. The name Pontsarn probably means Bridge of the long road the road in question being a branch of the Roman road from Gloucester to West Wales. The original wooden 18th century bridge over the Taff Fechan river was replaced by a stone bridge in1864 and this is now a protected listed bridge. The Blue Pool and waterfall are features of natural beauty.    A relative of the famous historian, Thomas Carlyle was accidentally drowned here in the nineteenth century. The Pontsarn viaduct built to carry the Brecon and Merthyr Railway over the river was designed and built by Savin and Ward and their engineer Alexander Sunderland ( as was the Cefn viaduct ) It has 7 spans  and is an historic listed structure.

The Pontsarn Hotel and refreshment rooms were close by the railway station. When this was a holiday destination for families, it had a quoit ground, swings for children and sold tickets for trout fishing; as well as catering for lunch and tea parties.

The Brecon and Merthyr Railway was the vital link between this area and Merthyr Tydfil. Pontsarn  Station was once a busy rail link, until closed in the 1960s, and had its own stationmaster and porter.

The small Glais brook nears its junction with the Taff Fechan river at Aberglais, hence the name.

The Aberglais Inn was situated midway between the Railway station and the Falls on the Taff Fechan River and it provided a room for tea and picnic parties when day trippers were brought here by rail. There was a railway bridge near the Aberglais Inn which was built in 1866.

The Pontsarn Sanitorium was opened by Dr Ward in 1913 as a tuberculosis hospital. The site was chosen because of its sunny position and protection from north and east winds. It had 50 beds and in the summer beds were moved outside to give the patients fresh air. It is now converted into privately owned flats.


Carolyn Jacob




(Postcard courtesy of Gill Thomas)

The Pontsarn Refreshment Rooms. Now the Pontsarn Inn

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The Pontsarn Hotel

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Pontsarn Station

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Pontsarn Station


Pontsarn Viaduct

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The Seven Arches, Pontsarn

(Postcard courtesy of Viv Bayliss)

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Pontsarn Viaduct

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Pontsarn Viaduct. With Pontsarn hill to Galon Uchaf.

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Pontsarn Viaduct, with Pontsarn hill to Galon Uchaf.

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Pontsarn Viaduct - 1967

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Pontsarn from Morlais Hill

    (Photograph Courtesy of Alan Warren, British Columbia, Canada)  
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Pontsarn Viaduct

(Postcard courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection.)

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The Bridge Pontsarn. This is near the Aberglais, now replaced by a

 wooden bridge as part of the Taff trail.

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The Blue Pool

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Waterfall and Bridge, (Blue Pool)

(Postcard courtesy Clive Bevan)

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The Blue Pool - 1964.

(Photograph courtesy of Dennis Quilan)


Blue Pool

(Photograph courtesy of Martin Sullivan)

Near The Caves, Pontsarn

(Postcard courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection)

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Pontsarn Hill. The Sanatorium and Wall House, Mrs Middleton an old friend of Alan's lived at Wall 

House for many years. Her husband was a signalman at Torpantau Station for sometime.

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The Sanatorium, opened 1913

(Postcard courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection)



The Sanatorium.

(Postcard courtesy of Gill Thomas)



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Pontsarn Sanatorium in the Snow

Patients being treated for Tuberculosis were recommended plenty of fresh air, beds were moved out onto the veranda as shown

in the close up below:

(Photograph Courtesy of Gill Thomas)

Patients out on the veranda:


The Sanatorium.

(Postcard courtesy of Gill Thomas)


The Sanatorium, Patients taking the fresh, cold air.


The Cefn Coed Gypsy Band at the Sanatorium - 1951.

1 Nancie Gough,  2 Marjorie Davies, 3 ? from the Quar? 4 Evelyn Jones.  5 Marjorie Dunn.  6 Doreen Joshua.

7 Roy Davies. 8 Evelyn Thomas. 9 Grace ?. 10 Annie Thomas. 11 Florie-May Joshua. 12 Gracie Gunter.

13 Gwenie Davies. 14 ? Haines. 15 Cyril Hodgkins. 16 Tom Chambers. 17 Olwyn Morgans. 18 ?

19 ?? Chambers. 20 Joan Hodgkins (Rees). 21? 22. Barbara Lloyd

(Photograph courtesy of Avril Lewis nee Hodgkins)    <Click Here to return to Cefn Coed>


The Sanatorium was turned into flats in the 1980s, this photograph from the Merthyr Express 1990.


The Aberglais in the early 1900s


The Aberglais Inn, Pontsarn, S.Wales.

Noted House for Catering for Large or Small Parties. H.E.Vater, Proprietor.


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