Conservation in action at Aberdulais
There's always something going on at Aberdulais, as we work to learn more about the place and make your visit more interesting, informative and enjoyable.
Volunteers are working as part of our conservation team to digitise a huge catalogue of maps, photos and archaeological artefacts.
And we need your help. If you are computer literate and have some time to spare between now and spring, we'd like to hear from you.
Digging for history
Over the past year, we've carried out extensive archaeological clearance work, removing 90 tonnes of imported stone and many skip-loads of soil in preparation for work to help conserve the remains of the Victorian Tinplate works.
The clearance has allowed us to pinpoint floor levels and specialist builders have re-pointed the structures, protecting them for the future.
Now, visitors can explore the buildings where the various industrial processes took place.
Keeping the big wheel turning
Throughout Aberdulais's long history, the wheels that have turned the power of water into industrial wealth have dominated the scene, a tradition that continues even now. But after 20 years turning, the present waterwheel was showing its age.
We've undertaken a major refurbishment and restored it to full working order using the latest hydraulic technology. Now it should be good for at least the next twenty years.
River wall improvements
We've replaced old lime mortar that has worn away and fixed loose stone in order to strengthen the wall.
New fencing will improve safety at the river's edge and around the site.
Reaching for the sky
A recent special buildings survey identified some deterioration of the brick within this structure which was used to control the heat of the tinworks' furnaces.
So we've carried out some detailed restoration work to preserve it for the future.
Turning over a new leaf
An area of woodland behind our site currently suffers from fly tipping and vandalism. So we're linking up with Environment Wales to tidy it up.
We hope to use the project to change attitudes. We'll use social marketing and education to help local people get involved in looking after the woodland. We'll also be holding a community consultation to find out what people would like to see in this area, to help us make it more accessible for all.
The tinning house
The tinning house is a key area of the site but also one of the least understood.
Excavation of the floor has exposed a number of pits which, in their current state, are very vulnerable.
Our archaeologist recorded the building in its current state, taking note of the exact position of individual stones with drawings and photographs of the floor and walls. This will help us learn more about the building, so we can conserve and display it.
Telling our story
Over the next three years we hope to make our visitor experience even more family friendly. We're looking at the way we provide information to visitors and most importantly the way you can learn from and enjoy Aberdulais. We're also looking at new ways to help you engage with nature and relive the history of those who lived and worked here.
Why not come back and see us next year and tell us what you think?
We're currently drawing up plans to upgrade our main toilets.
The idea is to make the building more environmentally friendly, while maintaining its unique character.
We're always on the lookout for new ways to make your visit to Aberdulais even more memorable. So watch this space for news of future projects - come visit and then come back to see how we're getting on.