Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Bryniau Clwyd

20.10.15  Bonc yr Hafod (SJ 311 469)  

Bonc yr Hafod (SJ 311 469)

Bonc yr Hafod is a landscaped hill that originated from the coal waste dug out of the earth at the Hafod Colliery.  This Colliery was operational between 1867 – 9th March 1968.  At its height it employed over 2,000 people and produced house, manufacturing, steam and gas coal as well as fireclay.

The remains of the spoil were landscaped in the mid 1990’s and its soil improved to allow grassland to grow and trees to be planted.  Nowadays Bonc yr Hafod is described as a Country Park and offers pleasant walking on a variety of paths through diverse habitat.  The Park is now a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and SAC (Special Area of Conservation).

The large stone construct at the entrance to the car park

There are two main paths to follow, one indicated by yellow arrows which is named the Hafod Circular Walk, this takes you around the base of the hill past the Great Crested Newt breeding ponds, wild flower meadows and through woodland.  Whilst the red arrowed Heritage and Nature Trail heads up the hill to the summit past a series of interpretation boards and carved oak posts themed on the park’s natural history and mining heritage.

I parked in the large car park at SJ 312 465 which closes its gate at 7.00pm, and walked to the far side of the parking area to start my ascent following the red arrowed path, there are a number of diversions from this main path that would be worth investigating as I’m sure all the narrower paths will gain height and converge toward the summit of the hill.

The sun was still breaking through the morning cloud as I walked up the path, stopping occasionally to take photos of the engraved oak posts depicting dragon flies, rabbits, ferns and coal mining implements.  Once the cloud dissipated and the sun broke out the multitude of trees began to illuminate in their autumnal colour.

One of many engraved oak posts at Bonc yr Hafod

Autumnal colours on the path leading to the summit of Bonc yr Hafod

An engraved rabbit on one of the oak posts

There were a few dog walker’s enjoying the morning’s sunshine, but otherwise the hill was quiet and I had the paths mainly to myself.  I stopped occasionally to take photos of the beautiful autumn colours as they were drenched in morning sunshine, with succulent reds interspersed with golden yellows and vivid greens.

The reds of autumn

Golden yellows

Autumnal Rowan

The hill has been transformed since its industrial past and this is now highlighted in a number of interpretive boards giving the industrial heritage of the Hafod Colliery.  A number of these boards are positioned on large rocks beside simple wooden benches; these are not obtrusive and add gentleness of information to the pleasantness of surrounds.

One of the interpretive boards detailing the mining heritage of Hafod Colliery

As I neared the summit the large stone sun dial sculpture of a miner came in to view, this is positioned a few metres from the path that crosses the top of the hill, it was beside this path where I gathered the first Trimble data set.  A second data set was also gathered 3 metres from the path in scrub land under a small tree of hawthorn.

During these data sets I noted all relevant details of the surveys and walked around the sun dial which is tastefully constructed and positioned and which sits quietly and unobtrusively near the highest point of Bonc yr Hafod.

Gathering data at the summit of Bonc yr Hafod

After packing the Trimble away I followed the path on the northern side of the summit area down as it zig zagged to join my inward path.  It had been a pleasant and gentle hour enjoying the reclaimed lands of Bonc yr Hafod, but now I wanted to investigate the area of this hill’s bwlch. 

The bwlch of Bonc yr Hafod is situated to the north north-west of the hill in a large field looking out toward Bersham Bank which stares back over the rumblings of the A 483.  The lane that leads toward the bwlch is narrow but there is parking on one of its corners adjacent to where a public footpath heads north.

Gathering data at the bwlch of Bonc yr Hafod, with Bersham Bank (SJ 311 481) in the background

I took two data sets in the field, one where contour interpolation suggests the bwlch to be situated and one beside a line of high pylons that march across the field.  During this time there was one sheep in the field that occasionally reared its head in inquisitive enquiry, otherwise all was thankfully quiet, and once the two data sets were complete I walked back to my car and headed off to another reclaimed coal waste hill that had potential of becoming a new P30.

Survey Result:

Summit Height:  152.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 31182 46940

Bwlch Height:  108.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 30956 47371

Drop:  43.9m

Dominance:  28.74%

For further details please consult the Trimble survey spreadsheet click {here}

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