Pont-y-Yard   

Pont-y-Yard Bridge, adjacent to the A 4067 just South of Abercrave, was one of the earliest stone bridges to span the River Tawe. It was built by  Daniel Harpur, a local industrialist who came originally from Tamworth in Staffordshire. The bridge was intended as an aqueduct, to link the adjacent Lefel Fawr Colliery to the Swansea Canal at Hen-Neuadd dock, (now the site of Longs Coaches)

This extension to the canal was never completed however, because of the gradient and the hardness of the  local rock. Instead a horse-drawn tramway was built to take the coal to the canal and to the Abercrave Ironworks. The cottage by the bridge was occupied by the colliery manager.

Just beyond the cottage you can see the barred entrance to the Lefel Fawr Mine which Daniel Harpur opened around 1801 . Notice the red-brown colour of the stream that flows from the entrance. This is due to iron which is often associated with coal seams. The colliery level was tunnelled for over a mile into the hillside by William Watkins a local engineer. He did not use explosives, and preferred to shatter the rock by harnessing the expansion produced when lime was slaked with water.

The yard itself, which gave the bridge its name (bridge of the yard), was an area between the old Swansea Valley Canal feeder and the river Tawe. The main A 4067 road now runs across it. It was originally used to store and load coal from the Lefel Fawr mine. Around the year 1910 it was the site of a billiard hall, dance hall and newsagents shop, all operated by a Mrs Walters of Caehopkin. It was also used by travelling circuses and fairs.

In 1794 Daniel Harpur became one of the proprietors of the Swansea Canal, and in 1801 he moved into the area, building Abercrave Mansion (now Abercrave House) near the old Abercrave Farm.  It was Harpur who anglicised the name ‘Abercraf’ to ‘Abercrave’ (the name Abercraf comes from the confluence of the Craf stream with the river Tawe, with ‘Craf ‘ being an old Welsh word for wild garlic). As well as developing the Lefel Fawr Colliery and the Abercrave Iron works he became a director of the British Iron and Steel Company.