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Brecon and
Abergavenny Canal
  Furnaces for making fertiliser  

Another very important bulk cargo which was moved in huge quantities on the local tramroads and on the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal was lime and limestone.
Lime was used chiefly as a fertiliser for spreading on the fields to enrich the soil. Limestone was dug out from the nearest quarries and taken by tramroad or cart to limekilns which were specially built close to the canal banks.
The stone would be broken into smaller lumps, fed into the top of the kilns with coal, and burned to produce lime. (Use the link on the right for more about how this was done).

See our pages on the Montgomery Canal for more about how lime was produced in canalside limekilns. Click here.

Old limekilns
by the canal
at Llangattock

Limekilns at Llangattock Limekilns near Brecon
The limekilns above were on the canal bank just on the edge of the town of Brecon.

The photograph above gives a good idea of how close the old kilns were to the canal to make it easy to transfer the lime to canal boats for delivery to farmers and landowners. Lime could be a very hazardous material to handle after it came out of the kilns, as you can see from our Montgomery Canal pages.
Lime was also used for building mortar, but in country districts like mid-Wales the demand for agricultural use was much more important.

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As the limekilns were like huge ovens or furnaces which gave out a lot of heat, they often attracted homeless people in the winter. Sometimes tramps would be found dead in the kiln tunnels, because the fumes from the burning lime could be very dangerous.
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