South East Wales

Possible holy well discovered in Cwmbran woods

The archaeological dig
Image caption The archaeological dig has been taking place for the past week at Green Meadow Woods in Cwmbran

Amateur archaeologists have uncovered what they say may be a holy well in woodland in Cwmbran, Torfaen.

They were working on a dig to discover more about a settlement that dates back to the 16th Century that they already knew about.

But they came across the well at Green Meadow Woods and believe it is much older.

Richard Davies from the Ancient Cwmbran Society said it may shed light on the area's religious history.

Mr Davies said between 15 and 20 volunteers had been working hard at the site for the last week.

He said the settlement they were originally investigating dated back to around 1520, but the well was older.

"We are relatively certain its purpose was not for watering animals," he said.

"We are not sure whether its a holy well, a baptism pool or something else."

Holy wells can date back to the second and third centuries. The water in holy wells was said to have healing qualities.

Field archaeologists Roger Burchill said: "It is comprised of packed stones that are all placed with the front forming a face to the well itself.

"Who would use it is the $64m question. All we can say about it at the moment is the structure is totally different to what we have on the bank.

"We have a wall, we have some paths, we have a possible building up on the bank and we have this well. Connecting them together is the trick."

The volunteers are taking a break on Thursday but will be returning to the excavation site on Friday and Saturday when members of the public are welcome to join them.

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