Woman recalls 'horrendously sad' moment a Welsh village was wiped off the map

Two neighbouring villages that blossomed around local steel and tin plate works have vanished. Credit: Nevil Williams

The Machynys Peninsula, south of Llanelli, is a popular stretch of the Wales Coast Path.

But 50 years ago the area was dominated by industry.  In the shadow of the factory chimneys, stood two villages that have been wiped off the map.

They were the communities of Bwlch Y Gwynt and Machynys - two neighbouring villages that grew up around the local steel and tin plate works.

There were terraced houses and shops; a pub, a church and a school. Families had lived in the villages since the mid 19th Century.

Sandra Jenkins was born and bred in Bwlch Y Gwynt.

Sandra says Bwlch Y Gwynt had a strong 'community spirit'. Credit: Vanished Wales

“It was the sort of place that you can only dream of growing up in,” she recalls.

“There was such a community spirit because everybody knew one another.

"I was there, my mother was born there, her mother was born there and my great grandmother was born there. And her parents came to live there in the very beginning.

“There were lots of families like that, so you had this extended family and neighbours who had all known one another all of their lives. It was a very happy place to live.”

Today, nature has reclaimed the land. The villages of Machynys and Bwlch-Y-Gwynt have simply vanished.

By the 1960s the steel plants had closed. Workers lost their jobs and the communities were hit hard.

The villages of Bwlch Y Gwynt and Machynys have been wiped off the map. Credit: David Hopkins/Vanished Wales

The Council decided it was time to redevelop the land and by the 1970s the villages were torn down but the residents had to be rehoused.

“I remember the day I moved out,” says Sandra.

“I didn’t move really until 11 o’clock in the night, because I couldn’t leave. We were scattered over Llanelli.

"Everything you’ve grown up with - everything you know and love -  swept away.

“It was horrendously sad to go. And even after all these years, it’s still raw.”

30 years after the villages were flattened, the derelict land was finally redeveloped.  You’ll now find luxury houses and a golf course.

Machynys and Bwlch-Y-Gwynt are long gone. But they haven’t been forgotten.

Their memory is kept alive by plaques along the Coast Path, reminding passers-by of two lost communities that were full of life.

You can see more on this story, and many other lost landmarks, in Vanished Wales. Friday 20th May at 7pm on ITV Cymru Wales. You can also catch up with the series here.