Friday, June 14, 2024

11 Nice Issues to do in Neath Port Talbot

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large waterfall with blurred water on a grey rocky cliff face - Melincourt Waterfall. Best things to do in Neath Port Talbot South Wales UK.

Journey, industrial heritage, and epic landscapes… uncover the Dramatic Coronary heart of Wales with these high issues to do in Neath Port Talbot!

The good nickname, the “Dramatic Coronary heart of Wales”, tells you precisely what you may count on from this fabulous hidden gem in South Wales.

Combining miles of shoreline with a lush inside laced with dashing rivers and plunging valleys… this really is a land of journey. Crashing waterfalls, dense forests, fairytale castles, and sweeping sandy seashores present an ideal backdrop for all types of outside pursuits.

Underrated, and all too usually skipped by guests flocking to greater cities like Cardiff and Swansea, Neath Port Talbot nonetheless feels very a lot a hidden gem. Which suggests you’ll usually have these wonderful trails and sweeping landscapes all to your self.

And when you’ve worn your self out with all of the climbing, biking, browsing, horse driving, and journey you may handle, there are cosy nation pubs to unwind in, cute villages to discover, native historical past to absorb, and tranquil glamping websites for nights of stargazing.

Uncover South Wales’ coal mining historical past on the oldest mining museum within the nation, wander by ruined abbeys, and take in the valley views from a historic aqueduct.

On this put up, I’ve shared my choose of the high issues to do in Neath Port Talbot that can assist you profit from the Dramatic Coronary heart of Wales. No matter you rise up to, you’re certain to get pleasure from exploring this unbelievable hidden gem.

This put up was created as a part of a sponsored journey supported by Dramatic Coronary heart of Wales. As at all times, all phrases and opinions are my very own.

The place is Neath Port Talbot?

Neath Port Talbot is a borough within the county of Glamorgan in South Wales. The area sits on Swansea Bay, simply east of Swansea and about 35 miles west of Cardiff, and is bordered to the north by the Brecon Beacons Nationwide Park.

The primary cities are Port Talbot and Neath. Coastal Port Talbot feels just a little industrial, dominated by the Port Talbot Steelworks, however the space round Aberavon (particularly the lengthy, sandy Aberavon Seaside) is beautiful. Somewhat methods north, Neath is a bustling market city clustered across the River Neath.

Past these two hubs, the remainder of the area is essentially rural – with a scattering of smaller cities and villages, and LOTS of countryside for having fun with the good outdoor!

Prime Issues to Do in Neath Port Talbot

emily wearing black trousers and a long orange raincoat walking along a path towards a large stone castle with several turrets at Margam Country Park in Neath Port Talbot

No matter time of 12 months you go to, there are many outside adventures to get your adrenaline pumping in Neath Port Talbot!

Absorb the wonderful views on countryside hikes (with routes to swimsuit all ranges) or attempt the thrills of mountain bike trails and coastal surf. There’s loads of native historical past and tradition to find at numerous museums and historic buildings, too.

1. Glamping in Neath Port Talbot

wooden shepherds hut glamping accommodation on a patch of grass with a picnic bench with green hills and forest behind

There’s no higher option to take in the abundance of pure magnificence in Neath Port Talbot than by staying proper within the midst of it at one of many many glamping websites within the space.

I headed to Willow Springs Campsite for an in a single day keep at first of Autumn – and was completely spellbound! This family-run, eco-friendly campsite is perched on a hillside inside Afan Forest Park, with sensational views throughout the valley. Simply getting there felt like a little bit of an journey: winding up the hillside by the forest actually gave the sense of leaving the world behind!

There are a handful of rustic shepherd’s huts on the campsite. They’re small and pretty easy, however very cosy, with electrical heaters and a snug double mattress. Good for a back-to-basics keep fully immersed in nature.

interior of a wooden shepherds hut with wood panneled walls, a double bed with blue devet, a small tartan armchair and a black leather sofa
wooden outdoor sauna hut with a metal chimney next to a wooded hillside with a small waterfall. Things to do in Neath Port Talbot
The log-fired sauna is an extra-special deal with!

However the most effective half? Renting the campsite’s non-public, wood-fired sauna, which is tucked into an remoted spot beside a waterfall and a spring-fed plunge pool. These had been fairly icy in late October – although I’m unsure they’re ever very warm! The concept is to heat up within the sauna, then courageous the chilly waters of the waterfall or plunge pool, then again to the sauna, and repeat.

If you happen to’re in search of a well-priced, quiet, cosy place to spend a number of days fully getting away from all of it – Willow Springs Campsite is JUST the place!

2. Afan Forest Park: Woodland Trails and Valley Views

hillside covered with pine forest on a sunny day with blue sky

Afan Forest Park is the jewel in Neath Port Talbot’s crown. This 48-square-mile forest park within the wonderful Afan Valley is the area’s premier outside exercise vacation spot.

With lush forest crowding the valley slopes on both facet of the winding Afan River, this lovely Forest Park is the proper place to flee into nature. The best setting for adventures equivalent to climbing, biking, fishing, path operating, tenting and glamping.

The park is finest identified for its mountain biking trails (see the following part), nevertheless it’s not all about adventures on two wheels. There are quite a few way-marked strolling trails, starting from a delicate one-mile stroll by the woods to longer and extra strenuous hikes. Many of those begin from Afan Forest Park Customer Centre, so head there first for more information.

By night time, you may search one other journey in Afan Forest Park: stargazing. The agricultural location and restricted gentle air pollution make this an amazing place to marvel on the night time skies. E-book a keep at one of many campsites across the park, like Willow Springs (above), for an evening of stargazing.

3. Mountain Biking: Get the Adrenaline Pumping

man on a mountain bike wearing a black jacket and helmet cycling downhill on a gravel path beside a green forest filled valley
Picture Credit score: Martin Ellard Pictures

As talked about above, Afan Forest Park is the important vacation spot for mountain biking in Neath Port Talbot. With 130km of biking trails and extra all-weather single tracks than another mountain biking centre in Wales, this actually is an journey playground for bikers.

In addition to the six trails ranging in size from 7km to over 40km, there’s additionally an extreme-graded bike park, the place superior riders can check their abilities on a number of shorter, extremely technical runs.

I’m extra of a flat, paved-trail biker myself, so I didn’t give mountain biking a go! However I did have enjoyable watching others hitting the paths, which appeared in nice situation and had been nicely signposted. And I can completely attest to the fantastic thing about the Afan Valley, particularly on sunny autumn days when the sunshine catches the smooth golden colors of the forest.

The place to Hire Bikes in Afan Forest Park

  • Afan Valley Bike Shed – on the Afan Forest Park Customer Centre.
  • Afan A Blast – at Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre close to the highest of the valley.
  • Campbell Teaching gives classes and coached rides for freshmen (or skilled riders seeking to hone their abilities).

4. Go Chasing Waterfalls in Neath Port Talbot (Melincwrt Waterfall & Extra)

emily wearing an orange raincoat standing in front of a large waterfall with blurred water due to a long exposure. Melincourt Waterfall - Things to do in Neath Port Talbot

With all its mountains, rivers, and rolling hills (to not point out all that Nice British rainfall) Wales is solely riddled with waterfalls! And Neath Port Talbot is not any exception.

Melincwrt (or Melincourt) Waterfall is among the finest within the space. Like lots of the points of interest in Neath Port Talbot, it’s a little bit of a hidden gem – which is stunning because it’s simply downriver from the favored Waterfall Nation space within the south of the Brecon Beacons.

It is a spectacular, 80ft waterfall sweeping down a sheer rock face in a steep-sided wooded valley. From the carpark, it’s a pleasing, 15-minute stroll alongside a river to achieve the falls, and it’s a reasonably straightforward stroll. Simply keep in mind that the path might be slippery in moist climate!

The encompassing valley types the Melincourt Nature Reserve, residence to an abundance of wildlife. The humidity created across the falls permits for a various array of uncommon ferns, whereas the tranquil woodland is a superb place to identify birds and butterflies.

Extra Waterfalls in Neath Port Talbot

  • Aberdulais Waterfall within the Dulais Valley (northeast of Neath)
  • Rhyd y Fro Waterfall in Cwm du Glen gorge, Pontardawe

5. Go to the Fortress and Abbey at Margam Nation Park

view of a large stone castle glimpsed between the trees lining the long pathway leading up to the castle. Things to do in Neath Port Talbot

In addition to waterfalls, the opposite factor Wales is legendary for is castles! With greater than 600 of them, the nation apparently has extra castles per sq. mile than anyplace else.

Margam Fortress is the one to see in Neath Port Talbot. It’s truly a Nineteenth-century Tudor-style Gothic mansion; a dramatic, fairytale-esque affair constructed from native sandstone in 1830.

The 850-acre nation property on which it stands was initially residence to a placing Norman Abbey till the dissolution, when the abbey was destroyed and the land handed to totally different homeowners. Many ruins of the outdated abbey nonetheless stand on the grounds, together with the twelve-sided chapter home and a part of the undercroft. Discover contained in the evocative ruins for a glimpse of a long-lost previous.

interior of a ruined abbey with arched stone cloisters overhead and an open doorway looking outside at a large old tree

Immediately, the fort and surrounding parkland type Margam Nation Park – a stunning space for walks, bike rides, and different outside adventures. There’s additionally a Go Ape treetop path, and in summer time you may kayak and paddleboard on the lake with Margam Park Journey.

The property can be residence to a big herd of deer, which roam freely throughout the parkland. To see them, I extremely suggest taking one of many signposted walks into the broader property. I cherished the two.25-mile Pulpit Path, which climbs the hill alongside Margam Fortress for distinctive views of the Neath Port Talbot shoreline.

6. Go Horse Driving in Cimla

emily wearing a black helmet and purple raincoat riding a white and brown horse on a country lane

Fancy making an attempt one thing just a little totally different in your journey to Neath Port Talbot? Horse driving gives a little bit of light journey and a brand new manner of seeing the area’s beautiful landscapes.

I can HIGHLY suggest Cimla Equestrian Centre. Primarily based simply outdoors of Neath, they provide horse driving classes for all ages and talents.

If you happen to’ve by no means ridden earlier than, Neath Port Talbot could possibly be the proper place to present it a go. There’s actually nothing higher to do in your travels than attempt one thing new and get out of your consolation zone just a little. And who is aware of, it could possibly be the beginning of a brand new lifelong ardour!

Taken whilst riding a horse of the back of a white and brown horse's head on a woodland track with another horse in front with a rider in a red jacket and black helmet with a long ponytail

Extra skilled riders can contact the Centre to rearrange guided horse trekking or hacking across the farm and surrounds – for some unbelievable views of the rolling hills and wooded valleys. My information, Megan, was superior (and really forgiving of my extremely rusty approach). Our hack by the woods was simply one of many highlights of my journey to Neath Port Talbot.

7. Absorb the Views from Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct

stone arches of an aqueduct above a tarmac road with autumnal trees on either side

Nestled close to the doorway to the Afan Forest Park, the tiny village of Pontrhydyfen is clustered throughout the steep sides of a valley, with the River Afan operating by its centre.

And connecting the higher “cabinets” of the village, the historic, Grade-II-listed Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct affords unbelievable views of the Afan Valley.

view of a river from a bridge above with dense forest on either side in autumn with golden leaves. Things to do in Neath Port Talbot.

Actor Richard Burton CBE was born in Pontrhydyfen – his beginning residence lies only a stone’s throw from the aqueduct – and a photograph of him crossing the bridge within the Nineteen Fifties gave the village a blast of fame.

The aqueduct was in-built 1827 to hold water to a close-by ironworks. It was later transformed right into a viaduct, and immediately it types a much-used foot and cycle path which is a part of the Sustrans Nationwide Cycle Community.

Prime Tip: Comply with the Richard Burton Path to discover the aqueduct, village, and surrounding valley. Data panels alongside the stroll spotlight factors of curiosity related with the actor and his childhood within the space.

8. Swimming, Browsing, and Seaside Walks at Aberavon Seaside

Aberavon Beach just before sunset in autumn with a grey cloudy sky and a long stretch of empty sandy beach

It’s not all concerning the countryside in Neath Port Talbot – there’s additionally a unbelievable shoreline! Head to Aberavnon Seaside to profit from it: this 3-mile-long stretch of golden sand is good for seaside days!

Sitting on Swansea Bay, it’s a hub for browsing and different watersports equivalent to windsurfing, kite browsing and kayaking. The seaside is a browsing hotspot all 12 months spherical. Take a category, or on blustery days merely stroll alongside the seaside and watch the surfers driving the waves.

As you could have observed from my photographs, I used to be visiting Neath Port Talbot in autumn, so it wasn’t precisely seaside climate! However Aberavon seafront is a superb place for a stroll regardless of the time of 12 months, particularly because of the fab eateries alongside the promenade. Absorb the ocean views from well-liked indie bar-restaurant The Entrance while having fun with some native foods and drinks.

9. Take a Tour on the South Wales Miner’s Museum

historic mining equipment, a large black metal wheel on a green frame in a forest next to a small stone building
glass display with shelves full of old minin lamps and other equipment at the south wales mining museum

South Wales was formed by the mining trade – each actually and metaphorically – notably the thriving coal mining trade of the Nineteenth and early twentieth century. The handfuls of mines left a mark not solely on the panorama, but additionally on the individuals, cities, and on the nation as a complete.

In actual fact, a Medical Help Society arrange by the South Wales Miners even impressed the creation of the NHS!

Tucked inside the gorgeous Afan Forest Park, the South Wales Miner’s Museum is the primary mining museum in Wales. This small, volunteer-led museum provides a wonderful perception into the coal mining trade with some good displays – together with an immersive “underground tour” designed to present the feeling of strolling by a mine.

If you happen to’re supplied a guided tour, take it! Lots of the guides are former miners, to allow them to give a first-hand account of what working life as a miner was like.

Data: Tickets value £3 (£2 youngsters and seniors, below 5’s free). The museum opens Tuesday to Saturday and opening hours fluctuate, so test their web site earlier than visiting.

10. Neath Abbey & Ironworks: Uncover Native Historical past

ruined stone wall of an old ironworks building in Neath with many empty windows looking out at trees behind
small waterfall above a river with blurred white water motion in a small woodland. Neath Abbey Waterfall.

Neath’s vigorous city centre hides a number of stunning secrets and techniques. First, the ruins of the Twelfth-century Neath Abbey, which lend their identify to a neighbourhood of the city.

The abbey ruins are hid on the sting of that neighbourhood, surrounded by business buildings. It feels very a lot a hidden gem, tucked away behind some industrial estates alongside the Tennant Canal.

However what seems like much more of a hidden gem is the stroll alongside the River Clydach, on the foot of a small, tree-lined gorge operating straight by the city between two housing estates.

This river is dotted with traces of the outdated Neath Abbey Ironworks. First established in 1792, these ironworks had been one of many nation’s largest and most necessary iron-making websites in the course of the Industrial Revolution.

Immediately, the ghostly ruins of those industrial buildings, with their eerie empty home windows and overgrown purple brick partitions, are a scheduled monument. Strolling upriver from the Ironworks leads by a tranquil pocket of woodland to a small, fairly waterfall, the place it’s straightforward to overlook that you simply’re in a city centre!

Data: Looking for Neath Abbey on Google Maps usually brings up the neighbourhood as an alternative, so click on right here for the precise location. For Neath Abbey Ironworks, there’s a small quantity of free parking within the lane close by (click on right here for the Google Maps location) – or park on Penyard Street which is reverse the footpath right down to the river.

11. Stroll by Cwm Du Glen and Glanrhyd Plantation

looking up along a wide river in a wooded valley. Things to do in Neath Port Talbot

Nature lovers received’t wish to miss the gorgeous stroll by Cwm du Glen gorge to the Glanrhyd Plantation. It is a comparatively straightforward stroll that may be accomplished in round an hour – taking in some beautiful sights alongside the way in which.

First, you’ll observe the picturesque Higher Clydach River by a slender gorge carved by Ice Age glaciers. It’s value extending the stroll to cease off at Rhyd y Fro waterfall on the finish of the gorge, earlier than climbing as much as the Glanrhyd Plantation.

Perched above the gorge, the plantation lies on the grounds of the now-demolished Nineteenth-century Glanrhyd Home.

Immediately, it’s an area nature reserve the place the tranquil woods are dotted with unique timber planted on the previous property. There’s even a Large Coastal Redwood and a towering Monkey Puzzle tree. Comply with the round path by the woods and look out for the indicators which establish these historic specimens.

very tall monkey puzzle tree against a blue sky at Glanrhyd Plantation

Data: Click on right here for stroll directions. The path begins at Herbert Sq. in Pontardawe (reverse the Dillwyn Arms). The closest carpark and public bogs are at Herbert Road Higher Automobile Park (SA8 4EB). Entry to the character reserve is free.

When to Go to Neath Port Talbot?

close up of red autumn maple leaves

There’s actually no improper time of 12 months to go to Neath Port Talbot!

Summer time is your finest probability of fine climate (although within the UK there aren’t any ensures). That is additionally the busy season, particularly in the course of the faculty holidays (July and August) and any financial institution vacation weekends. You would possibly discover lodging extra booked up and costs just a little greater throughout this time.

Autumn is a superb time of 12 months for climbing, biking, and journey sports activities – with cooler climate and swathes of golden colors throughout the countryside. That is after I took my glamping journey to Neath Port Talbot and I can verify it’s a shocking time of 12 months.

Spring can imply delicate climate (once more nice for climbing and biking), in addition to vibrant wildflowers within the forests and valleys. Winter climate might be moist, windy, and chilly, and lots of points of interest shut from October – Easter, however you’ll profit from fewer crowds and decrease costs. Plus, there are many cosy, conventional pubs the place you may gap up by the hearth with a glass of wine to heat up!

Simply keep in mind, moist climate (particularly in Autumn and Winter) could make trails slippery and trigger rivers to swell. Take care while exploring – and keep away from swimming in rivers & waterfalls because the water ranges and currents might be unpredictable.

Greatest time of 12 months to Surf in Neath Port Talbot

For surfers, there are waves year-round, although spring and autumn are maybe finest (in line with Surf Atlas). Summer time’s heat temperatures and tame waves are nice for freshmen, whereas the large swells of the tough winters are just for skilled surfers (with superb keep-warm gear!).

Locations to Eat in Neath (and Close by)

white china bowl with mashed potatoes and a circle of roast pork belly on a table next to a glass of pink lemonade with a dark restaurant interior beyond
Don’t miss the Welsh Home in Neath!

Brew & Co – nice little artisan espresso store in Neath with pleasant service and actually good truffles. Good for fast lunches and light-weight bites. I LOVED their brownies!

Dyffryn Arms – cosy nation pub on the highway between Neath and Pontardawe, with a heat and welcoming environment. The various menu mixes overseas flavours with elevated pub classics.

The Welsh Home – unbiased regional chain of restaurant-bars primarily based in Neath, Swansea and Cardiff with a give attention to supporting Welsh suppliers. The Neath department is a beautiful house with basic wooden panelling and deep blue partitions. Anticipate a healthful, seasonal menu filled with conventional Welsh dishes made utilizing top-notch native elements. 

Are there any extra nice locations to eat in Neath (and past)? Tell us within the feedback beneath!

How Many Days in Neath Port Talbot?

I spent two days exploring Neath Port Talbot, which was sufficient time to pack in quite a bit. It’s fairly a small space, so that you don’t need to drive too far between the totally different sights and actions.

Nonetheless, I’d say at the very least two nights could be the perfect size for a go to. Particularly in order for you the journey to have a extra relaxed tempo. I’ve shared an instance itinerary beneath to indicate how a lot you may match into two days:

Neath Port Talbot 2 Day Itinerary Suggestion

Day 1
  • Margam Nation Park. Go to the abbey and chateau, take a stroll on the grounds, then cease for lunch on the cafe. Time wanted: 2-3 hours (minimal).
  • Swing by Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct on the way in which to Melincwrt Waterfall. You’ll want round 15-20 minutes for the aqueduct (except you do the Richard Burton Path) and about an hour for the waterfall.
  • Go to Neath Abbey and Ironwalks, or take a stroll alongside the seafront at Aberavon. Both possibility will take about an hour.
  • Dinner at Dyffryn Arms
Day 2
  • Mountaineering or biking in Afan Forest Park (permit 2-3 hours). Alternatively, attempt horse driving at Cimla Equestrian Centre (1-2 hours).
  • Don’t miss the South Wales Miner’s Museum should you’re visiting Afan Forest Park – you’ll need at the very least half-hour for this (longer if in case you have extra time).
  • Lunch at The Welsh Home in Neath
  • Cwm Du Glen & Glanrhyd Plantation Stroll (about an hour).

So, that’s my information to the finest issues to see and do in Neath Port Talbot.

Discover the picturesque countryside, wealthy mining historical past, and outside adventures of this gorgeous nook of South Wales. This really is one among Wales’ high hidden gems!

If you happen to’ve obtained a query – or a advice of your individual – please depart a remark on the finish of this put up.

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