Clydach Ironworks, Monmouthshire: Ruins in the gorge that inspired Shakespeare

An oasis of quiet now stands where the steam hammers thudded at this Welsh ironworks, in a river valley that may have moved Shakespeare to write A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Once, flashes of light from great blast furnaces illuminated the hills of Monmouthshire at night, roaring along to the thud of monster steam hammers.

Now, all is quiet in the Brecon Beacons, save for the tramp of the hiker’s boot, the whistling wind and the whirr of cyclists.

Apparently, Shakespeare was inspired to write A Midsummer Night’s Dream after a visit to the caves at Cwm Clydach or Clydach Gorge.

Enjoy a view of the river as it descends almost 700ft over little-visited waterfalls and cascades, leading to the eerie ruins of Clydach Ironworks and an old iron tramway bridge, beneath which a hardy few enjoy peaceful swims.

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