Years ago an elderly Betws gentleman, sadly no longer here, was well-known for his wealth of stories about what he used to get up to as a boy.
He used to tell tales of rabbit hunting down on the old Port Talbot railway line, where he would snare them on both sides of the old line, west of Moel Gilau. However the landowner who had the land north of the line objected to his activities and threatened to shoot him if he caught him. This did not stop our man (nicknamed ‘The Poacher’ for obvious reasons) from his nightly activities and if the weather was inclement, or the chase was becoming a little too close for comfort, he used to take shelter in the old drift tunnel that led over to the Garw. If he was chased in his illicit manoeuvres he made sure that he crossed to the Betws side of the old railway line, as he said the landowner could not take action as he was then on someone else’s land.
Rabbit was a popular source of cheap fresh meat, and the rabbit population in the valley around the old line was huge, and he reckoned he could take some 20 or 30 rabbits on a good night of hunting.