The Great Welsh Valleys
Many of the greatest parts of Wales are found in its valleys. The valleys that are in the south are lands that have been vital to the coal and iron industries in the past. These valleys are also vital to the history and culture of Wales.
During the Industrial Revolution these minerals were mined and produced by people from Wales and migrants who moved into the area from England. Although iron was the first mineral to be produced here these areas would eventually be known especially for their coal mines.
All sorts of different coal mines would be worked throughout the valleys during the nineteenth century. These mines helped to make the nearby city of Cardiff a vital centre for the delivery and distribution of coal to different parts of Europe, and was for a long time, the largest coal port in the world. However, in the late twentieth century many coal mines and other industries such as steel plants closed down. The very last Welsh steel plant closed down a few years ago.
Although metals like tin and steel are no longer mined and the coal mines are almost nonexistent throughout the area the valleys are still visited by many tourists anxious to explore the areas history. Among the bodies of water that flow through the valleys are the Rivers Garw and Ogmore. The A465 road has been vital to the area as well because of how it moves people between the northern ends of the valleys and its link to the M4 motorway.
There are many industries that still operate in the valleys too. Most of these are light industries that work in fields like consumer electronics and furniture and do not impact the environment as much as other alder, dirtier industries. Iron and tin are used in some applications in these industries but not as much as they originally were during the Industrial Revolution.