About the Afan Valley, Neath and Port Talbot – Waterfall Country

About the Afan Valley Neath and Port Talbot – Waterfall Country

About the Afan Valley, Neath and Port Talbot – Waterfall Country

Cymmer nestles in the middle of the Afan Valley and joins a vast selection of attractions around the Vale of Neath. You don’t need to be a cyclist to enjoy waterfalls, castles, forests, galleries,
beaches and museums.
Cymmer nestles in the middle of the Afan Valley and joins a vast selection of attractions around the Vale of Neath. You don’t need to be a cyclist to enjoy waterfalls, castles, forests, galleries,
beaches and museums.

So much to do, so much fun to be had..

This page highlights a selection of great things to do in the Afan Valley and the area of Neath Port Talbot.  Whether you are a hard core mountain biker, love road biking or a family looking for an excellent break, there’s tonnes to do and see. The Tourism Development in Neath Port Talbot Project has put together an excellent video giving you an idea of what this stunning area has to offer. If you want to get out there and enjoy yourself in a beautiful natural environment, then come and stay with us at Bryn Teg House self catering cottages. Everything is on your doorstep.

For experienced bikers..

A taste of the area for mountain bikers. This video builds from the Rookie Trail (for kids and beginners) to the awesome Reds and Blacks that sweep across the Afan Forest Park. Worth watching until the end.  The video also covers both mountain bike centres; Afan Forest Park and Glyncorrwg Ponds.

For the family..

You don’t have to take on the hard trails to have fun. Afan offers a LOT of family biking.  This video gives you a taste of the area if you are planning a family trip. Getting everyone out and having fun on the Rookie Trail and an easy blue or just heading out along the disused rail lines for a picnic by the river. It’s all good.

(click an image for a bigger view)

Vale of Neath Waterfalls

Waterfall Country – The Vale of Neath

Close to Bryn Teg House and nowhere else in Wales is there such a richness and diversity of waterfalls within such a small area as can be found in the Vale of Neath, one of five scenic valleys within Neath Port Talbot. This abundance has led to the region becoming known as ‘Waterfall Country‘.

The deep gorges of the rivers Mellte, Hepste and Nedd Fechan between the villages of Pontneddfechan and Ystradfellte provide opportunities for the casual walker as well as the more experienced. Many of the falls are spectacular and worth visiting more than once through the changing seasons particularly after a downpour.

An information pack containing an informative guide to ten walking trails through ‘Waterfall Country’ is available from Bryn Teg House.

Vale of Neath Waterfalls
Aberdulais Waterfalls
The Refreshment Room Cymmer

Great hot meals and real ale

Meals and drinks are available at our local public house and restaurant called the “Refresh” (The Refreshment Rooms) and it’s only a five minute walk from Bryn Teg House. “The Refresh” was once the main Cymmer Afan railway station building and still boasts lots of original features, but is now an excellent pub and restaurant. It may seem a little strange today but Cymmer was once a major railway junction and boasted three railway stations.

The line was built by the Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway in 1885 and at the beginning of the last century it was taken over by the Great Western Railway. It originally ran from Swansea Docks and Port Talbot to Cymmer Afan, then to Abergwynfi and through the two mile long Blaenrhondda tunnel to Treorchy and Treherbert in the Rhondda Valley. Sadly on the 15th July 1970 it closed to passengers forever after a long history transporting great ‘steam’ coal from the mines and passengers along the valley. Nowadays you can have an enjoyable meal and a relaxing drink at Cymmer Afan “station”.

Margam Park and Castle

Margam Castle is a large mock castle built for the Talbot family in the 19th century during the Gothic Revival. The castle is stunning and there are surprises around every corner, from the magnificent 18th Century Orangery, an impressive and picturesque Tudor-Gothic style Victorian Mansion House, a 12th Century Chapter House, ornamental gardens and the best deer herd in Wales. Margam also now has Go Ape in the park so you can get your dose of tree top adrenaline!

Today, Margam Castle is a Grade I listed building and is in the care of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and can be visited all year round but it has one notorious claim to fame – it is reported to be the most HAUNTED location in Wales. There is a decent tea room serving great refreshments to calm your nerves.

Margam Castle and Park
Margam Castle Children
Margam Park Go Ape

Afan Forest Country Park

The Afan Forest Park is ideal for easy family walking, more strenuous hill-walking, cycling and mountain-biking and boasts that visitors are to be welcomed by the “drumming of woodpeckers”. Explore the forest tracks and old disused railway lines on foot or bicycle, or choose the way-marked walking or cycling trails that enable you to reach the best viewpoints and most interesting features in the Afan Forest Countryside.

You can also get your fix for the outdoors with road cycling, camping and fishing. You have a choice of two main stop off points: The Afan Forest Centre in the south-west part of the valley, or the Glyncorrwg Ponds Mountain Bike Visitors Centre, both of which serve tasty food and hot drinks.

Afan Forest Park Activities
Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre
Afan Forest Walks
Afan Forest Family Cycling

Aberdulais – water powered since 1584

The ice age landscape and breath-taking waterfalls nurtured a pioneering tin industry. Using the water to power cutting edge technologies (for the time). Discover how this small village in the Welsh valleys became an innovative community and wander through some stunning countryside and ancient relics pointing to its industrial past. Visit the National Trust Aberdulais website here.

Aberdulais South Wales Miners' Museum
The South Wales Miners Museum
Aberdulais Waterfall
Aberdulais mine carts

The South Wales Miners’ Museum

The South Wales Miners’ Museum is just a couple of miles away from Bryn Teg House and is situated in the Afan Forest Country Park (6 miles from Port Talbot).  This is a brilliant attraction and great for a half day family outing. The museum has over 100,000 visitors a year and takes you back in time to the dangerous and dirty days of coal mining in the nineteenth Century where you can relive the hardship of both adults and children working in the mines.

The museum is a registered charity which is run and managed by volunteers dedicated to promoting Industrial Heritage in the Afan Valley. All admission charges and donations go towards the running and maintenance.

Miners Museum Tea
Near to Cymmer and Afan

Just round the corner

There are many attractions in South Wales, not least the beaches and mountains. Just round the corner is the Brecon Beacons National Park. You can also go fishing at Glyncorrwg Ponds situated just next to the river Corrwg.

South Wales Beaches
South Wales Beaches
Fishing South Wales