Vale of Neath

Eaglesbush Valley

Eaglsebush Valley, predominantly Oak woodland, was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2008. This route takes you through the Nature Reserve and along a tree lined path to Cimla, before circling round to return to the start point. There is some limited parking in the centre of the Nature Reserve, along a tarmacced route, or for those not wishing to leave the car in the woodland, parking is usually possible near the entrance on Old Road. N.B. there are speed bumps on this road which are quite high so take care with low cars.
The walk starts off by following the Cryddan Brook that meanders through the woodland. Follow the road as far as you can until you see an entrance to a path partly hidden between the two properties at the end of the woodland. This takes you along a path, aptly named Stoney Road, before coming out onto a country track with pleasant views over the fields and hills in the distance. The short distance through the streets is worthwhile, to create the circular loop which brings you back along a stone track into the woodland.
Wildlife Watching: The woodland of Eaglesbush Valley is a haven for animals and plants alike. Look out for the colourful displays of Bluebells and Yellow Archangel lining the paths in spring. Birds to look out for include Grey Wagtails hopping around the stream, Treecreepers making their way up tree trunks or Greater Spotted Woodpeckers making their distinctive drumming noise on the trees.

Melincourt Falls

The Melincourt Nature Reserve is located in a narrow, steep-sided valley, carpeted with Bluebells in the spring. Although this is an easy walk, care is needed when walking along the gently rising path up to the 80ft high falls, which was famously painted by Turner in 1794. One of the best preserved Iron Works in Wales can be seen on the northern slope of the reserve. The works were opened in 1708 for 100 years of iron production, utilising the flow of the water for power. The high humidity created by the falls provides a perfect environment for ferns in particular, with over 20 species recorded on site.Wildlife Watching: The delicate Tonbridge Filmy Fen can be found here. Keep an eye on the trees where you have a good chance of seeing Redstart, Pied Flycatcher or Nuthatch in the summer.

Cwm Gwrelych Geo Trail

A lovely walk, with beautiful views where you can walk back in time and discover the rich industrial heritage and internationally important geology of this unique site. Situated right on the edge of the South Wales coalfield this secluded valley gives access to rocks that would only be found deep below the valleys of South Wales. Discover coal seams, iron rich rocks and wonderful plant fossils that tell the story of ancient environments.
Start in Ponwalby Village and the trail heads south, passing beneath the viaduct. It then follows the river upstream through a narrow gorge dominated by the large Farewell Rock crags. The path meanders away from the river itself to explore the impressive geological features, taking you along a suite of interpretation panels to highlight further points of interest.
Wildlife Watching: The area is home to a wealth of wildlife, such as Common Lizards, Slow-worms and Green Woodpeckers.

Sarn Helen Circular

Following the B4242 briefly, the public footpath sign for the start of this walk is clearly visible on your left hand side. Commencing at the foot of the Roman Road, Sarn Helen, you can quite easily forget about the steady 1km ascent as you’re distracted by the attractive mix of farm and woodland and the Red Kites flying overhead. Veering left just after the cattle grid this is where the path provides you with some of its best moments; as you walk just beneath the mountain ridge take a moment or two to savour the sweeping views of the Neath Valley. On reaching the next juncture you could follow the main track right, heading back to the B4242 if pushed for time. However, it is recommended to go on and enjoy the tranquillity of Craig Ynysbwllog Woods that offers a picturesque little waterfall at the end. Following the sharp descent down to the road, turn right to follow the road back to where you started, passing the Rock and Fountain Pub on your way. Wildlife Watching: Look out for Ravens soaring overhead with their loud ‘cronk’ call. A more musical bird is the Skylark which can be heard singing high up over grasslands. If you are lucky you may spot a Brown hare.

Pant y Sais Fen

This walk is accessed directly from the pavement alongside the main road. This is a short and easy walk, following the boardwalk through Neath Port Talbot’s first Local Nature Reserve. Also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Pant y Sais Fen is one of the best remaining fens in South Wales and its accessibility makes it an ideal location to delve into one of Neath Port Talbot’s wildlife hotspots. Having developed naturally on a former course of the Neath River, the site forms a complex and diverse wetland site made up of several distinctive plant communities. In addition to the plant life, a feature of the site is its sheer diversity of rare invertebrates. Of particular note is the Fen Raft Spider, which is so well adapted to its aquatic lifestyle that it’s able to move across the surface water despite its impressive size (an adult grows to a span of up to 7cm across). The spider is found in only 2 other locations in the UK, earning it full legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. If you wish to extend your walk there is access to the Tennant Canal towpath which could take you past Neath Abbey and up towards Aberdulais Falls.

Gnoll to Mosshouse Reservoir

This walk starts from the visitor centre and steadily climbs up to Mosshouse Reservoir, within the grounds of the Gnoll Estate Country Park. Recent felling work has opened up vistas of the area, providing fine views across the Neath Valley. The reservoir, built at the end of the 19th century, supplied water to the Neath town before being released as surplus to requirements by the Water Authority in 1982. It now provides a scenic destination before retracing your steps to the visitor centre, which has information on the area and a cafe .
Wildlife Watching: You may see Nuthatches in the Beech woodland. Daubenton bats roost here and often feed at dusk over the ponds, which are also home to the Common Frog.

Sgwd Gwladys

This walk takes you through one of Neath Port Talbot’s most ecologically important sites, ‘Coedydd Nedd a Mellte’. The start of the walk is clearly visible from The Angel Inn; simply head through the black gates labelled ‘Waterfall Country’. This is a short and easy walk that culminates at the spectacular Sgwd Gwladys Falls, although care is needed in sections where the path passes above steep river banks.The track follows the route which horse drawn drams once travelled to transport silica rock from the mines in the early19th century, one of which is still visible next to the path. You can also see remains of the double race mill which farmers once used to grind corn, with one of the mill stones to be found in the bank above the path. Cross over the river bridge to follow the path on the opposite side of the river up to the falls. The name Gwladys is said to originate from one of the many daughters of Brychan, the 5th-century King of Brycheiniog. Wildlife Watching: Dipper and Grey Wagtail are often found along this wet, wooded valley, whilst the high humidity creates a perfect environment for many rare and interesting ferns and mosses.

Neath Canal Resolven-Glynneath

A very pleasant, flat walk, suitable for all. Start at the car park next to the roundabout on the A465 in Resolven, heading up the Neath Valley. The walk along the Neath Canal has a number of locks tracing their way through the valley. The canal was built in the late 18th century to transport materials from the valley’s early industries and mines. Linking to the Tennant Canal at Aberdulais Basin, the canals were the primary form of transportation until the coming of the railway in 1851. Sympathetic restoration work over the years has provided a combination of historical interest with the abundant wildlife often associated with canals. The area inspired Alexander Cordell, forming the background to his book ‘Song of the Earth’, the third in his 19th century Welsh trilogy. Once the Lime kilns have been reached 4 kilometres to the north, take the time to explore the fantastic surroundings before you return to the starting point.
Wildlife Watching: Look out for the colourful Emperor Dragonflies darting over the water, Greater Spearwort with its large yellow flowers and Kingfishers perching on branches.

Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
ErrorHere