Canal at Pontnewydd Park
The open space on the opposite side of the canal from the towpath here became a recreational area as the local population grew after the Second World War.
The Monmouthshire Canal curved past farm fields here when it was built in the 1790s. In Victorian times there were two fields where you now see Pontnewydd Park.
By the First World War, the terraced houses of Godfrey Road had been built on part of the fields. Other housing was added north of Mount Pleasant Road as Cwmbrân new town grew in the second half of the 20th century. The open ground behind the housing became a park with playing areas and informal grassed spaces. Today the Friends of Pontnewydd Park help to maintain the space and organise events.
The park is also a wildlife habitat, particularly where mature trees mark the boundary between parkland and canal. At the western side of the park a dipping platform was installed for children and grown-ups to net some of the small animals that live in the canal. The creatures can be viewed close-up before being returned to the water.
Dipping of a different kind used to be carried out at various places where fields bordered the canal. Farmers would pay the canal company a small fee for the right to dip their sheep in the canal, to wash out parasites such as mites and ticks. The June 1935 receipt shown here is from the Great Western Railway (which owned the canal). It records a payment of one shilling for washing 20 sheep in the canal at Goytre.
The old photo shows farmers beside one of the canal bridges. Notice the long poles with T-shaped ends – used for pushing the sheep down into the water to ensure a thorough wash!
Postcode: NP44 1AN View Location Map