Nature has reclaimed the hillsides ravaged by coal and steel. Echos of Wales' industrial heritage are now stumbled upon like relics of an earlier civilisation.
Two hundred yards from the gate you are confronted by the gaping mouth of Merthyr Tunnel, now gagged with concrete blocks. This is the only visible remains of the industrial railway linking the fiefdom of the Merthyr Iron Masters to the black gold of the Rhondda Valleys.
This was the very engine-room of the industrial revolution which turned these valleys into a melting pot of humanity and made men such as the Marquis of Bute amongst the richest in the world. By contrast the hardships of the working man were meanly rewarded, leading to the deep-seated traditions of trade-unionism and the labour movement in South Wales.
Even when the unions were brought to their knees in the 1980's, Maerdy was known as little Moscow, it being a hotbed of communism: As well as his wartime leadership Winston Churchill is remembered for sending strike-braking troops into the valleys.