Aberdulais falls are formed as the River Dulais flows over hard Pennant Sandstone just before meeting the River Neath. The Area where the falls are at their best is owned and maintained by the National Trust. Entrance to view the falls incorporates an important part in the regions industrial heritage, it is here that Copper was produced in the 17th Century and later a tinplate works was in operation on the site. Many remains, tools and workings of the tinplate site can be seen today. As you walk around there are some rooms which provide information about the History of the tin plate workings. Aberdulais is also home to Europe's largest electricity-generating waterwheel.
Keep an eye out for some great wildlife when admiring the waterfalls, we saw a dipper bobbing up and down when we were there. You may be lucky enough to see a Kingfisher or two.
There is a lovely little coffee shop in a cottage near the entrance together with a great gift shop selling all sorts of gifts and books.
Check the website below for opening times and admission fees.
Here you can get maps for your walks amongst the Waterfall which start just accross the road. There is also a nice little shop and exhibition about the area. There is no cafe/restaurant here but they do sell bottled water. The receptionist was very helpful during my visit.
Just across the stone bridge near the entrance to Neath Abbey you will find a picturesque Canal. From here you will get some wonderful views of the Abbey and if you're feeling energetic can go for a stroll along the towpath. This area is teeming with Wildlife and gorgeous scenery.
The remains of Neath Castle are situated right in the centre of town, just off the main shopping streets. It was established by Robert, Earl of Gloucester (founder of Margam Abbey), some time between 1114 and 1130. The stone buildings you can see are later, and the gatehouse to the north was built in the 1320s. The castle was virtually demolished in 1321, after the war between Edward II’s lover Thomas le Despenser and the rebellious English lords, and subsequently rebuilt. Edward II himself took refuge here before his capture and gruesome death in 1327. Only the fronts of the great D-shaped towers and the arch between them survive. Jutting out from the front of the right-hand tower is the broken end of the town wall. The interior of the castle can be glimpsed through a gateway on the south side, but foundations of buildings ranged around the curtain wall are all that can be seen. The Castle remains sit amongst some lovely small gardens. You can view the Castle remains from the outside but access inside the ruins is prohibited.
Neath Indoor market building dates back to 1837. It was renovated in 1904. Today, the market features and eclectic mix of stalls ranging from butchers and fresh vegetable stalls to hat and bag boutiques and cafes serving traditional Welsh food. There are some really interesting inscriptions and carvings around the door to the main entrance.
St Thomas, the Parish Church of Neath was established in 1298 as a garrison chapel for the nearby Norman Castle of that time. The base of the tower dates from about 1340. It was raised to its' present position in 1691 using sutton stone brought from the ruins of Neath Abbey. The church contains hatchments, monuments and stained glass windows - some of which are 300 years old and are dedicated to important Neath families.
In 1686 Sir Humphrey Mackworth married Mary Evans who was the heiress to the Gnoll Estate thereafter successive generations of the Mackworth family extended Gnoll House and by 1770 it was a magnificent Georgian Mansion. The Cellars and foundations of the house can still be seen today.
Today, the Country Park is surrounded by a beautiful 18th Century landscaped garden which have retained many of their original features, including the impressive Gnoll Cascades.
The Gnoll Country Park offers so much to do including; a visitor centre with café, an environmental exhibition, children’s playground, 9 hole golf course, fishing, and a number of way marked woodland walks. Entry and Car Parking are free of charge.
The waymarked walking trails around the Country park are colour coded according to difficulty level - Green for easy walking, yellow for more demanding and red for fairly strenuous. You can pick up cards describing the routes from the Visitor Centre - what an excellent way to keep fit!
It is a great place to come for an afternoon stroll or a serious ramble, the woods are just teeming with wildlife and much more!
Entry and Car Parking are free of charge.
Neath Abbey was established in 1129 AD when Sir Richard de Granville gave 8,000 acres of his estate to Savigniac monks from western Normandy. The first monks arrived in 1130. Following the assumption of the Savigniac order into the Cistercian order in 1147, Neath Abbey also became a Cistercian house. The abbey was ravaged by the Welsh uprisings of the 1200s, and eventually dissolved by King Henry VIII of England in 1539. At this time, the abbey was turned into a large estate. Sir Philip Hobby was the last occupant of the estate.
By 1730, some of the buildings were being used for copper smelting, and the rest were abandoned. In the late 18th century, an Iron Foundry was opened near the Abbey ruins by a company owned by the Price, Fox and Tregelles families.
The archaeology of the abbey was eventually excavated between 1924 and 1935.
The remains of the Abbey and Tudor house visible today are immense and a joy to see. There are some wonderful arches, pillars and doorways for you to view at your hearts contents and if you time your visit right, you can have the place to yourself.
After your visit if you want some more spectacular views and photographic opportunities, go over the stone bridge and take the left hand path which will take you alongside the Tennant Canal, I got some great pics from here with the reflection of the Abbey in the water of the Canal.
This is a truly amazing place to visit, from Glynneath - head towards the Waterfalls Centre in Pontneddfechan. Here you can buy a map & guide leaflet for a pound, this gives information on lots of walking trails and came in very handy indeed when trying to figure out how many waterfalls we had left to see! There are a few trails to follow ranging from fairly easy to a bit hair raising in points. I would recommend stout walking boots for all of the walks in this area as it can be pretty muddy underfoot.
We followed the Elidir trail which takes about 3-4 hours and takes you past four great waterfalls. The path begins to the rear of the Angel Pub and runs alongside the Afon Nedd Fechan (river), the first section of the path is easy to walk on and fairly flat, that's more than I can say for the rest of the path although the Waterfalls are well worth the effort. The scenery is absolutely stunning & perfect for a day away from the madding crowd!