New Valleys archaeology group find rifle range

South Wales Argus: HISTORIC: The rifle range HISTORIC: The rifle range

A NEW archaeology and history society has made a discovery in the Cwm Celyn valley.

The Aberystruth Archaeology and History Society, which was set up just a few weeks ago, is led by founding member and full time history and heritage student Ian Fewings, 47.

The society, which has members aged between 21 and 80 years old, was set up by Mr Fewings who wanted to form a group that people could actually attend rather than just historical social media groups.

The society now has 40 members, who meet at the Blaina Heritage Centre, every month to carry out archaeological field survey training and to listen to historical talks.

The members of the society, which is backed by the University of South Wales, where Mr Fewings is a student, recently discovered the remains of a First World War territorial army rifle range in the Cwm Celyn valley.

Mr Fewings discovered the partial wall when he was walking in the valleys in November last year but it was only two weeks ago that archaeologist and heritage officer for Blaina Gwent, Frank Olding, accompanied him to the site and confirmed it was a wall used for the Monmouth regiment of the territorial army for target-shooting training.

“The range was built sometime between 1904 and 1919,” said Mr Fewings.

“The local territorial army unit, third Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment, was established in 1908 and it is likely it was used to train soldiers in the build-up to World War One.”

The battalion recruited largely from Blaenau Gwent and took 80 per cent losses at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915.The wall has been registered by the Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Trusts and will soon be officially recorded during a summer field survey.

The Aberystruth Archaeology and History Society will be running activities and is recruiting new members.

For details,contact Ian Fewings on ifanfew@gmail.com

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