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Pont Y Frithwaun


Most of the people who live in the Ogmore Valley will not be aware of the existence of a bridge bearing this name let alone know just where it is. If you are interested you might like to view what remains of this bridge before the ravages of time take their toll and another piece of our heritage is lost.

All that remains of the bridge is two separated arches and a small section of the original roadway, There was a crossing here as far back as 1729, a time when there were few, if any, houses in the Ogmore Valley.

There were two roads crossing Glamorgan at the time, the old Roman Road (now the A48) that passed through Coychurch and Pyle and the second from Llantrisant over Mynydd y Gaer to cross the River Ogmore at or close to Melin Ifan Ddu.

From there the road crossed through Llette Brunkey, (Lletty Brongy) traversed Margam Hill and eventually ended up at the Knoll in Neath. This was obviously a very important crossing point for people and other traffic along the Northern edge of the Vale.

The bridge in question is situated beneath the existing road bridge that crosses the River Ogmore some fifty or so yards from the old Blackmill Hospital. If you stand on the road bridge and look over the parapet on the Pantyrawel side you can see one of the arches. The other arch is hidden in the trees between the river and the cycle track.

The present road bridge is one of three that can all be seen at the same time if one should care to go down to the river level. The first high-level bridge was half the width of the present road and had dressed stone pillars to support the road. The most recent addition is of concrete construction and has little appeal when viewed against the more traditional constructions.

The two old arches are themselves of differing construction. One has an elaborate keystone in the centre while the other is of a plainer style of construction. Why this should be so will remain a mystery to us, as far I have been unable to trace any other information about the bridge. The width of the bridge is only sufficient to accommodate a single vehicle as is to be expected for that time and one could easily envisage a horse and cart trundling over the river at this point. Farther up the valley there is the old track called Monks Path, which leads up over the mountain but this is only suitable for foot traffic.

The importance of this route can only be judged by the solid stone structure of the bridge. Prior to this there may well have been some form of wooden structure or perhaps only a ford by which to cross the river.

At this point the river had spread out into a number of rivulets, which were probably quite shallow and therefore easy to cross even if it meant walking through the water.

A track can be followed leading up past the old hospital, cutting through the min road at the keyhole bend and leading on up the mountainside; from there it is guesswork as to its route in order to end up in Neath.

The A48 has always been known as the route across Glamorgan from Roman times but a little bit of travel history must be reserved for this old road with its arched stone bridge.

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