This week we visited The National Mining Museum, Big Pit, in Blaenavon near Abergavenny. Having researched my family history I know that my great great grandfather William was a miner in the Black Country, as was his father before him, so I was interested to find out more about the life of a miner.
Admission to this World Heritage Site is free, you just pay £3 to park all day, and in addition to the various exhibitions you also get a guided tour underground in the pit itself. After removing any iems that include batteries (for safety reasons) and leaving bags in the storage provided we took the miners lift down to the coal face. A word of warning here, wrap up warm! It is cold and damp in the pit and in places you need to dip your head to avoid low beams. Sturdy shoes or boots are advised!
Our chatty guide, a former miner himself, was very knowledgeable and pitched his talk to appeal to the children as well as the adults in the group. An hour later we made our way back up to the surface and continued around the rest of the site, which included the pit baths and medical centre, as well as an interesting exhibition about a miners life.
After coffee and Welsh cakes in the café we ended our visit in the Gallery, an audiovisual presentation about the mine and a short guided tour around a reconstruction of the mine, which is a great idea since not everyone is able to or wants to visit the actual one underground.
Whilst visiting the area there are also nature walks, a steam railway and the ironworks nearby, which are also worth a visit. A great day out!