I was down at Aberdulais Falls yesterday to check on progress of the hydro refurbishment and to catch up with Sarah Green one of our curators. It’s only when you are explaining the project to someone that you actually start to think about the whole context of what you are doing.
Aberdulais has been harnessing the power of water since the 16th century; and running in conjunction with our hydro project there is an equally important (some would say more important) archaeological investigation around the historic tinning works.
As Sarah and I were watching the turbine (Edvard) being lowered back into his resting place) the Archaeology team were cataloguing and documenting the results of their investigations.
So what’s been happening since my last visit?
As you know the weather has been less than helpful – Great for generation, not so great for refurbishment contractors. At the start of the week we made the decision to get commercial divers in to site to assist with the draining down of the fore bay as the river levels meant we simply could not gain access to sluice gates and drains.
Whilst they were on site the dive team carried out visual inspections of the pipework and tail-race screen. A successful day as the fore bay is now drained down ready for construction works to begin early next week; and no issues were discovered with the pipework (phew).
It was only as Sarah and I walked back down from the top of the site that I stopped talking (thank goodness Sarah was thinking) and looked out across the site seeing just how important the Dulais river and Aberdulais is to our industrial heritage: On the left the historic furnace chimney, on the right the 16 tonne waterwheel. Right in the middle of it all Aberdulais Falls and the river powering the site since the 16th century and shortly with a refurbished hydro system well into the 21st century.
Well worth a visit.