The 19th century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace spent years exploring the Amazon rainforest and Malay Archipelago. And yet in his memoirs, he wrote about the Vale of Neath.
The ‘special features’ he mentions are a series of dramatic waterfalls that tumble through the steep-sided, tree-lined gorges of the Rivers Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-Fechan and eventually, into the River Neath.
Aberdulais Waterfall in theDulais Valley is the most accessible, thanks to the National Trust-run centre there that showcases both the site’s natural beauty and industrial heritage. A few miles up the Vale of Neath, the impressive 80ft-high waterfall at Melincwrt lies at the end of a short woodland path.
Head further north and you’ll discover ‘Waterfall Country’, a triangular area formed by the villages of Pontneddfechan, Ystradfellte and Hirwaun. Natural forces have combined here to create a highly concentrated area of waterfalls, gorges and caves.
Please be aware that due to the significant dangers presented by unpredictable water flows, visitors should not enter the water at Waterfall Country unless you are part of an organised activity group with fully qualified instructors present.