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Kymer's Canal & Kidwelly Quay

The Kidwelly and Llanelly Canal was a canal and tramroad system in Carmarthenshire, Wales, built to carry anthracite coal to the coast for onward transportation by coastal ships. It began life as Kymer's Canal in 1766, which linked pits at Pwll y Llygod to a dock near Kidwelly. Access to the dock gradually became more difficult as the estuary silted up, and an extension to Llanelli was authorised in 1812. Progress was slow, and the new canal was linked to a harbour at Pembury built by Thomas Gaunt in the 1820s, until the company's own harbour at Burry Port was completed in 1832. Tramways served a number of collieries to the east of Burry Port.

In 1832 engineer James Green advised on extending the system, and suggested a line with three inclined planes to reach Cwmmawr, further up the Gwendraeth Valley. Although Green had experience with inclined planes on other canals, he underestimated the cost and could not complete the work. He was sacked in 1836, but the canal company finished the new route the following year. The canal was moderately successful, and shareholders received dividends from 1858. In 1865 the company changed its name to become the Kidwelly and Burry Port Railway, amalgamated with the company running Burry Port in the following year, and the canal became the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway in 1869.

Kymer's dock at Kidwelly continued to be used for the export of coal by coasters for another 50 years. It was used as a rubbish dump during the 1950s, but together with a short section of the canal was restored in the 1980s. A few of the structures of the canal can still be traced in the landscape, and the route of the now closed railway can be followed for most of its length.

More information:

As part of a project in collaboration with The Valleys Regional Park and Carmarthenshire County Council, Ridler & Webster were commissioned to create a walking pack for Kidwelly. Please click on the following links to view:

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Kidwelly Town Council
Hillfield Villas
SA17 4UL

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