Chris Barber, MBE, FRGS, is the author of over 30 books on Wales' rich heritage. Born and raised in Newport, he has lived in Llanfoist for the last 35 years. For 20 years he was the chief countryside officer for Gwent, and established the Gwent countryside service in 1974. Chris is also the founder member and chairman of the Gwent Mountaineering Club. He was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to the community and tourist industry in South Wales. His other books include Journey to Avalon and Cordell Country.
Between 1760 and 1840 a chain of ironworks established along a narrow strip of hill country stretching for 20 miles at the ‘Heads of the Valleys’ in South Wales took advantage of the rich deposits of ironstone, limestone and coal that were the essential raw materials for the ironmaking process. At Blaenavon can be found the best-preserved multi-furnace complex of its type and period in the world. The surrounding landscape is extraordinary; everywhere you look, there is fascinating evidence of human endeavour over the last 200 years. Linking the ironworks to the sources of iron ore, coal and limestone is an intriguing network of primitive railways known as tramroads - they even include the longest tunnel in the world, constructed for horse-drawn operation. Hill Tramroad tells the remarkable story of this magnificent feat of engineering.