The southern border area of Breconshire
comes just within the coalfields of South Wales, most of which are in
the counties along the coast.
The coal which lay underground at Clydach, Ystradgynlais, and Abercrave
became more valuable as the Industrial Revolution
of the Victorian years led to a huge demand for iron and steel.
Better transport systems meant that these more remote coalfields could
be opened up, and the local ironworks could send their products south
to the coast.
All this meant that the natural resources
of iron ore and coal which were to be found in the area gave Ystradgynlais
many years of prosperity.