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Afan Valley

Old Parish Road Walk

Follow the path below the entrance to the visitor centre, following it through the underpass and across the cycle track. The old track takes you through the Oak woodland, with views of the Afan Valley and the river below. Until the creation of the main road in 1920, this track was the old parish road to Neath, dating back to the 11th century. There are still good examples of original stone walls along the way, now atmospherically carpetted in moss. The return route is along a section of cycleway. For those who would prefer a tarmacced surface, this section could be an alternative to the old track, following the cycleway in both directions. For train enthusiasts, before returning back under the underpass, continue briefly along the cycle track, where you will find the old Cynon Halt Railway Station.Wildlife Watching: The edges of the woodland create great habitats for various species, including butterflies such as Speckled Wood, Peacock and Red Admiral. Birds in the woodland include Blue Tits and Nuthatches.

Argoed Walk

An attractive circular walk that passes by two ruined farmhouses, Nant Herbert, and Lluest, along the 400Metre climb. You return along part of Coed Morgannwg Way and along the tramway of the disused Argoed Coal Level.Walking through the valley look out for pieces of dead wood which may have some really interesting fungi on them, quite different from those in a broadleaf forest. Keep listening for birds in the treetops, especially Goldcrests which have a very high pitched call.

Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail

Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail

Follow forest roads, stony tracks and paths to an ancient Baptist Chapel at Gyfylchi, and the ruins of Nant y Bar, whose cows once provided the whole valley with milk. The walk is quite steep in places so walking boots and waterproofs are recommended. Most of the walk is through conifer forests so be alert and look out for birds that specialise in feeding on conifers, such as Crossbills, and Siskins. In open glades and along rides you may see butterflies such as Peacock.

Railway walk in neath port talbot

River & Railway Walk

Follow the path below the entrance to the visitor centre, following it through the underpass and across the cycle track. The route crosses the river, picking up a circular section before returning to cross back over the river and back to the start point.Follow the banks of the Afan River and former route of Brunel’s South Wales Mineral Railway. The River and Railway Walk is mostly easy with a few short, steep sections climbing up from the river and onto the forest road at the furthest end. This walk is a pleasant combination of woodland trails, an easy stroll along the riverside and taking in the industrial heritage. As you return, there is a field which has picnic tables and barbeques which is an ideal resting place before setting off back to the Visitor Centre.Wildlife Watching: As you cross the river you may see a streak of blue as a Kingfisher shoots past, the bobbing head of a Dipper waiting to dive into the water, or a flash of grey and yellow of the Grey Wagtail. On the higher route look out for Siskins and Crossbills in the trees.

rhyslyn walk

Rhyslyn Walk

A flat route most of the way, this is a family friendly and easy walk, however keep an eye out for cyclists when returning on the forest road/cycleway. Beginning at Rhyslyn car park, descend onto the path, following the Afan River upstream. The path gently hugs the riverside and meanders sporadically into shaded woodland for the first half of the walk, offering plenty of opportunities to admire the many tranquil beauty spots along its course. Upon reaching the wooden footbridge there is a quick ascent before veering left and heading back down to Rhyslyn along a disused mineral railway track, enjoying river or mountain views either side. The return route touches briefly on St. Illtyd’s Walk, a long distance route commemorating the late 5th / early 6th century Welsh saint. The 103km route links Pembrey Country Park, in Carmarthenshire, with Margam Park in Neath Port Talbot. Wildlife Watching: In the woodlands look out for birds such as Siskins and Goldcrests. In the open areas look out for butterflies such as Green-veined White and Ringlet.

richard burton trail walk

Richard Burton Trail

This walk offers a interesting mix of culture, history and dramatic views. Start at Rhyslyn car park and head along the top road, turning left over the aqueduct, a landscape feature in itself. The majority of the walk is easy and accessible for all, apart from some steps which take you down past the school to the road below. At this point the steps could be avoided by turning left and then left again onto the cycle path, which you can follow to the portrait bench shown on this leaflet.The birthplace of Richard Burton is the valleys in microcosm. Information panels are located along this route, providing points of interest on Richard Burton, his childhood and career. Although he moved to Taibach at the young age of two, Pontrhydyfen is significant as his birthplace and was frequently re-visited by the star during his Hollywood career.Wildlife Watching: Along the length of the walk are remnants of former coal workings, now a haven for wildlife. Pioneer plant species, particularly mosses can be seen throughout. Interesting plants include Ploughman’s-spikenard and Southern Marsh Orchid. In the summer, butterflies such as Ringlet can be seen.

penrhys trail view

Penrhys Trail

The highlights of this trail are the spectacular views of the Afan Valley and Pontrhydyfen village.From Rhyslyn car park, briefly follow the road back towards Pontrhydyfen and take the footpath which climbs up to the right above the road. There is a steep 180 metre climb up this track to the top where it meets the country road taking you over the hillside. The road carries directly onto the ruins of Gyfylchi Chapel, but the recommended route turns right off the road for a gentle climb to the viewpoint and round to the chapel. It’s thought that this chapel was already in ruins by the mid 18th century, but it was rebuilt in 1775 by a local Anglican clergyman. It remained an important methodist centre until it was replaced by a chapel in Pontrhydyfen in 1826. There is a steep decent back to the car park.Wildlife Watching: This dynamic landscape offers many opportunities for species such as Nightjars and reptiles. More permanent areas are colonised by Heather. Redpoll can be seen in the Conifer plantations.

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