COMMUTERS on the A449 through Monmouthshire may have noticed the disappearance of a familiar landmark over recent months.

While no-one has been able to catch a train from Raglan since the late 1950s (a sad consequence of so-called progress), the derelict Raglan railway station building managed to survive the passage of time until relatively recently, eventually finding itself in the middle of a county council depot.

This fine example of Victorian transport infrastructure has now been painstakingly dismantled brick by brick and is looking forward to a bright new future at the St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.

Sadly, other historical artefacts have fared worse. Few of us with an interest in local history will forget the excitement of last year when a large ancient artefact was uncovered during excavations for a new housing estate on the edge of Monmouth.

I certainly appreciated the chance to work alongside the dedicated team at Monmouth Archaeology to safeguard the Monmouth “Longhouse”, as the discovery was dubbed at the time.

The jury may still be out on the exact nature of this find which once hugged the shore of an ancient lake, but it is clearly important not just for Wales but also for wider European archaeology.

Sadly, despite our best efforts, the discovery has since been destroyed, though detailed records have thankfully been made by Monmouth Archaeology.

From Bronze Age discoveries, Roman forts and medieval castles through to Monmouth’s links to Nelson and Henry Rolls, our corner of Wales is rich in heritage, in some cases dating back many centuries.

With more and more people choosing the ‘staycation’ as their main holiday, Monmouthshire’s history and heritage can be an important magnet to attract visitors to the area and a growing source of inward investment.

One of the biggest challenges is promoting what attractions are on offer.

I’m pleased that my on-going campaign to get better tourist signage on the roads around Raglan Castle seems to have gained much support from many constituents.

In the long term I think there’s potential for a complete overhaul of our rather tired brown tourist signage advertising anything from B&Bs to local pubs throughout Wales.

I think the time has come to fundamentally reappraise the way we market our heritage to potential visitors.

Let’s get on with the job and show everyone the gems that our corner of the world has to offer.