Topography and Agriculture
The Abersychan part of the area covers the valley floor and upwards towards a shoulder high on the western side of the Eastern Valley. The shoulder flattens at Talywain before rising again at Garndiffaith, where the western side is the lower slopes of Varteg Fach mountain. To the eastern side of Abersychan - up and around in a half circle - are Byrgwm, Twyn Du, and Graig Ddu Mountains with the Coity Mountain behind the Varteg Fawr and Fach.
The elevations above sea level of the villages - in feet - are: Abersychan 500, Talywain 900, Garndiffaith 920, and Varteg 1002.
Most of the land is used for hill farming - mainly pasturing the hardy Welsh Mountains Breeds, with, until the mid 20th. century, some arable farming of rye, barley, and turnips. Prior to the Industrial Revolution the valley was covered with trees and the only tracks were between the hill farms and the churches that served them. The picture above is of 'Castle Farm', which was located to the side of Farm Road, Talywain. The right hand side of the building is the original one and was reputed to be the oldest building on Talywain at C15th. century. It was finally demolished around the year 2000. Cattle drovers used the mountain tracks to take their cattle to market. Hill farms were said to occur at least half mile apart so as to maintain at least a subsistence existence. Today, there is no production of any food crops on the hill farms that dot the area, but sheep are still held in large numbers, though this hill - farming way of life is being threatened by the economics of the EEC..