Today the GGAT offices are the scene of social media training for both staff and volunteers alike, learning how to promote the work of the Trust and its volunteer projects (such as the Gower Landscape Project and Access to Archaeology) through the wonderfully versatile medium of social media!
The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust formally came into existence on 13th September 1976. In the run up to our anniversary, we are carrying out a number of celebratory events, some in conjunction with our colleagues at the Clwyd-Powys, Dyfed and Gwynedd Archaeological Trusts.
One thing that we would like to do is share memories with our staff and members past and present, our many clients, customers and supporters, and most particularly with everyone who lives in and cares about the heritage of South Wales.
In order to do this we will be running a series of themed stories over the coming year. Each month will be related to a particular aspect of our work – past or present- though we are not going to reveal too much at this stage!
We would also like you to share your thoughts, messages and pictures with us. So, if you’ve worked for GGAT over our 40 year history and have memories and photos, or have attended one of our Open Days or visited one of our excavations we’d like to hear from you. These can be shared through any of our social media streams.
To get the ball rolling the first theme is the Trust as an educative charity (we were formally registered in October 1976). Our object is to ‘educate the public in archaeology’.
Is there anything we’ve done that you have particularly liked? Did you enjoy a visit to one of our excavations or attend a talk or lecture? Did you see one of our exhibitions or visit our stands at the Eisteddfod or other shows? Have you read one of the leaflets or booklets that we have produced? Have you looked at the information on our main and subsidiary websites? What have we done that you have you liked? Share your memories on our social media streams (Facebook, Instagram) and on Twitter using the hash tag #ggatmemories.
Day 4, the last of my long trek. Today I’d set myself the goal of visiting the final two Trusts. Dyfed Archaeological Trust in Llandeilo, then my Trust, the Glamorgan-Gwent in Swansea. It was going to be difficult, but then which part of the ride hadn’t been! I checked in my Sustrans book and it said there was a nice tarmac and gravel cycle path (81/82) from Aber to Tregaron. So after breakfast (the rest of the previous nights pizza, all the luxuries me!) I turned my trusty stead southwards and headed for home.
The cycle path started well…but soon descended into complete farce. The description in the book should have read, ‘ path gravelled in places, but mainly mud, oh and fallen trees. This path is mostly suited for mountain bikes. Should not be attempted by people on tourers or road bikes with panniers!!’ It was a great track nevertheless, following the line of the old railway. I passed half hidden station platforms, where the ghosts of local villagers wait for trains that time and Dr Beeching have long done away with, and a section blasted through solid rock. the sound of my tyres through the mud echoing between rough cut faces. This majority of the track was through woodland, though the last 5 miles crosses Tregaron Bog and the change to open moorland is stark. Finally I reached Tregaron. I’m not sure who looked worse, me or my bike? We were both caked in mud and grime from the mornings adventure. 12miles had taken 2.5 hours! After sustainable of coffee and a chocolate and fig slice I set off again. In front of me lay the hills and I felt very unprepared.
The ride to Lampeter/Cwmann was littered with small sleepy villages and hamlets, as I passed through Llanddewi-Brefi I noticed that I was the only cyclist in the village. As I reached the A482 I was in buoyant spirits, the mornings problems and the time delay on the cycle path were behind me and I’d made good time along the B roads. As long as I live the A482/ A40 from Lampeter through to Llandeilo will forever be my Everest. For those who are unfamiliar with this fine section of Britain’s. road network, the road is almost one long snaking continual climb! One of the highlights you pass on this climb is the Dolaucothi Gold Mines. The mines overlook the beautiful Cothi Valley, and were started by the Romans 2,000 years ago. Mining at the site continued in the 19th and 20th centuries, finally coming to a end in 1938. The site is owned by the National Trust and is well worth a visit.
The climbing over (or so I thought) I pedalled wearily in Llandeilo and announced my presence at the Dyfed Archaeological Trust office. Water, coffee and biscuits were produced and a comfy chair for my saddle sore posterior. Thank you Alice and Marion for looking after a somewhat bedraggled and dirty traveller. After discussing my route and finding a more suitable one, which didn’t involve me climbing over multiple mountains, I set off again. It was kindly suggested before I left that I could be loaded into the back of the Dyfed van and driven to Swansea, but I passed on the offer, I had set off to conquer 4 Trusts in 4 days and the end was tantalisingly close now. Only the GGAT office to go!
Leaving Llandeilo behind me the heavens once again opened in a mighty downpour and I wished I was in the back of a van. More climbing ensued. As a cycled through Llannon I caught my first glimpse of the Burry estuary and caught the taste of home on the wind. Through Llanelli, Dunvant, and onto the cycle path to the Mumbles. My legs hummed and my knee sung with pain, but on I rode. I turned the corner into Heathfield House, the home of GGAT, at 7pm. The carpark was empty the office shut for the night. As I photographed my bike in front of the office door as evidence of my presence, a small sense of achievement washed over me. 4 Trusts, 4 days.
As the shadows started to lengthen, I turned on my bike lights and started the familiar ride from the office to home. I knew that a hot meal and a pint would be waiting for me in my local and many tales of the previous four days would be regaled to friends and loved ones, with various degrees of embellishment. A fitting end to my archaeological adventure.
Woke to sound of seagulls and the tang of salt air, that’ll stop me from leaving my bedroom window open! Day 3 another mammoth day in the saddle. I was feeling of trepidation as i waved a find farewell to lovely faded Llandudno , as i hadn’t arranged a B&B for the end of today’s adventure (as I wasn’t sure how far I would get). The coastal cycle path quickly disappeared into a series of sand dunes and I was seriously considering turning back for the main road, nevertheless I fastened a tea towel to my head put on my best Peter O’Toole/Lawrence of Arabian face and dragged my bike through the sandy wastes. Oh, what a reward awaits those with enough gumption to undertake this trek, the cycle path soon re-emerged from beneath the sands and across the bay stands the imposing fortress of Conwy. As you ride across the bridge the castle looms above you imposing Norman might on the lawless. The ride from Conwy to Bangor is fantastic, following the cycle path 5 you hug the coastline for most of the journey flanked by the mountains and the sea. After a woodland descent a found myself at my first port of call Bangor, home of the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. After coffee, cake (thank you Emily) more coffee, bike lubricant and a photo shoot, I bid a farewell to my North Wales colleagues and pointed my wheels in the direction of another Norman Castle, the mighty Caernarfon! The castle was one of a series built by Edward I to intimidate the surrounding population. The colour banded walls were designed to echo Constantinople, the imperial power of Rome. By the time I got there however the phone battery was on its last legs and after been informed that I couldn’t recharge my phone in the coffee shop I had to take the decision to turn it off or let it die. Die it was. I joined the vast hoards of tourists all taking ‘selfies’ in front of the castle and headed to the Lôn Eifion trail. This cycle path runs from Caernarfon to Bryncir along a former rail line. By now the weather had started to turn and the blue skies that had followed me from Llandudno deserted me as bands of slate grey rain rolled down the Snowdonia mountains to soak me. By the time I got to Criccieth, I knew I was in trouble. My knee had swallow like a balloon and it was becoming uncomfortable to ride, nevertheless, Barmouth wasn’t to far away, just another 2 hours cycle. Over the toll bridge at Porthmadog, past Harlech and the end was in sight. What is it they say about the plans of mice and men? No rooms at Barmouth!! My world suddenly became myopic as I knew I had carry on. No rooms at Machynlleth! With the pain in my knee being unbearable the cycle along the A487 became like a dream. I reached Aberystwyth at 8:30pm, luckily a B&B that I’ve stayed in a few times before took pity on me and found me a room. So, a happy ending after all. 2 Trusts down 2 left to do.
In 2015-2016 the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts (WATs) are celebrating their collective 40th anniversaries with a range of celebratory activities.
As one of these activities the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust will be establishing a fund that will be used solely to provide support and encouragement to young people living in South Wales who are interested in our local archaeological heritage and in the practice of archaeology in general.
The fund will allow us to increase opportunities for young persons to engage with archaeology. For example it would be used to support the establishment or activities of Young Archaeologist Clubs, or development and distribution of learning materials, or meet the costs for work-place learning experience, or support activities with schools or registered youth groups.
The fund will be administered by the Trustees of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust. The Trust is a Charitable Company registered with the Charity Commission and with Companies House (see http://www.ggat.org.uk/trust/governance.html).
We will be raising monies over the next twelve months through sponsored activities and donations.
As the first of these our Outreach Officer Paul Huckfield will be undertaking a sponsored cycle ride around Wales, stopping at each of the four WATs offices along with notable historic and archaeological sites on his journey. He will be posting a daily blog with details of the sites he visits on the Trusts social media streams and you can keep track of where he is in Wales via his Strava feed, which will be displayed on our Facebook site. You can sponsor Paul by downloading a sponsorship form here.
We are hoping to have the online donations site available soon to help you make a donation more easily
As part of the Big Welsh Walk campaign, GGAT will be carrying out a circular tour to look at the ironworks, its water management and transport systems, as well as some of the places where the people associated with it lived. No dark Satanic mills here now – most of our walk follows the Taff Trail through beautiful scenery at the edge of the Brecon Beacons.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Dates: 23 May 2015
Times: 10.00am – 1.30pm (approx)
Start/Parking: In front of Cyfarthfa Castle main entrance