Gelligaer & Merthyr Common

A South Wales Landscape Past and Present

by Judith Jones

Gelligaer and Merthyr Common occupies nearly 8,000 acres of upland in north-east Glamorgan between by the Taff and Rhymney valleys. It has been settled by man, albeit thinly, since prehistoric times and is crossed by the Roman road from Cardiff to Brecon. Over the centuries it has been encroached on by both agriculture and industry, and until modern times was administered through manorial courts by a succession of great landowners who held the lordship of Glamorgan.

This book summarises the history and archaeology of the district and discusses how both the landscape of Gelligaer Common and the local farming community, who depend on traditional common rights for their livelihood, can survive pressure from adjoining urban areas for greater access to open land, the growing menace of over-grazing and the dumping of rubbish, and the impact of opencast coal extraction and wind-farming. It will be of interest not only to local residents but to anyone concerned with the future of upland landscapes in Wales.

Married with three children, Judith Jones has lived for most of her life on a farm adjoining Gelligaer and Merthyr Common and is herself a commoner with a long interest in local history. She obtained a B.Sc. in geography from University College, Swansea, in 1972 and later a diploma and MA in local history from the University of Wales, Cardiff. She currently works for the University of Glamorgan.

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2003. Paperback, 96 pages, 22 illustrations

ISBN 1 989937 56 7