Access the canal at Jersey Marine, following the Coast Path waymarkers in a westerly direction towards Swansea. Apart from a very short section of gradient at the entrance, the path is flat and easily accessible. The path follows the Tennant Canal towpath which historically linked the Neath canal at the Aberdulais basin to the River Tawe in Swansea. The brainchild of George Tennant, the canal was used for commercial traffic until the mid 1930’s. Since this date, the waters have continued to be used as a supply to local industries and provides a picturesque link between Jersey Marine and Swansea. This is an important wetland habitat forming a hydrological link with the extensive Crymlyn Bog, a site of international significance. The route also takes you alongside fen and through woodland, providing a pleasant change of scenery along the way. The route takes you as far as the Swansea boundary and back, but for those wishing to continue into Swansea, simply continue to follow the Coast Path waymarkers. Widlife Watching: The nationally rare and legally protected Fen Raft Spider may be a lucky sighting in the bankside vegetation, whilst various damselflies and dragonflies, such as the Azure Damselfy, will be conspicuous above the water in the summer months.
Canalside / Woodland
Follow the wildlife walk logo on this gentle, circular route. Pick up the canal towpath, heading in a northerly direction. The canal was constructed in the 1790s, at the time running all the way from Swansea to Hen Neuadd, near Abercrave. Given its steep gradient, 36 locks were constructed along its length to reach the necessary height. Some of the canal was taken underground when the bypass was built at Godre’r Graig and, in recognition of the wildlife interest on the site, the northernmost section was later declared a Local Nature Reserve. Many features of the canal remain, such as stone bridges and locks, providing a route of both historical and wildlife interest. The return section follows the National Cycle Trail (route 43) through Coed Cwm Tawe and back into Pontardawe.Wildlife Watching: Look out for the plump little Dipper perched on stones in the river ready to dive into the water in search of the insect larvae they feed on. The Emporer Dragonfly may be spotted around the slow moving sections of the canal. If you are really lucky, signs of an Otter could be found on crossing points over the canal.