UNTIL 1600, Torfaen was entirely agricultural with small farmsteads and hamlets scattered alongside watermills, ridge top churches, pathways and drovers roads.

The valley was covered in woodland – one of the reasons the industrial revolution started in the area.

The earliest written recorded historical event, after the Doomsday Book, that survives about this Valley was the founding of Llantarnam Abbey in the 12th century by the Cistercian Order.

The Abbey and its estates and farmsteads dominated the south of this rural Valley throughout medieval times until it was abandoned, along with the adjacent village, when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 1530s.

Other surviving medieval farmstead buildings in the south of the Valley include Pen-y-Waun, Capel Llwyd, Yew Tree farm, Glan Sirhowy and Penllangwyn in Llanfrechfa, Llanyrafon farmhouse and Ty Coch Farm in Llantarnam - pictured here in the nineteenth century.

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.