The Afan Valley
The Afan Valley Communities
The villages in the Valley includes Abergwynfi, Blaengwynfi,
Croeserw, Cymmer, Glyncorrwg, Graig, Abercregan, Duffryn Rhondda,
Cynonville, Bryn, Oakwood and Cwmavon.
The Afan Valley has seen human occupation for thousands of
years. Evidence of this can be seen in a number of standing stones
and cairns high on the valley sides. Evidence can also be seen of
small scale quarrying along the valley. But, as with other valleys
in South Wales, it was coal mining that fuelled the development of
the villages in the Afan valley. Each village had a pit and some as
many as four or five. It is difficult to believe that the first
road to the high valley was not cut until 1901, however rail lines
criss-crossed the valley from as early as the 1830’s. Remnants of
the railways can be traced and there are two fine examples of
viaducts across the valley. The pits, dug to support the iron, tin
and steel works of Port Talbot, have now all gone. Fortunately none
of the environmental damage associated with mining remains and the
valley has been returned to a heavily wooded and green landscape
known locally as ‘little Switzerland’.
Economy and Tourism
There is wide scale exploitation of commercial forestry in the
valley and the forests form the centre of economic regeneration
through tourism. Afan Forest Park is a
major centre for walking and mountain biking in South Wales.
Over £1m has been spent recently building new or resurfacing
cycleways in the valley attracting more and more visitors to the
area. Developments have already taken place to cope with visitor
numbers. Afan Forest Park facilities include a café, souvenir shop,
and the south Wales Miners’ museum. Glyncorrwg Ponds Visitor Centre
offers mountain biking, as well as fishing and canoeing. A mountain
biking centre has been built in Glyncorrwg at the end of one of the
There are a number of other small and medium enterprises in the
valley including the Glyncorrwg Ponds Co-operative.
Port Talbot is a major manufacturing centre easily reached from
the Afan Valley. Industries include steel and electronics. Baglan Energy Park is a state of the art
environmentally friendly business centre.
There are road and bus links to Swansea, Bridgend and Maesteg,
all of which have medium and large scale industry and
There is a Communities First
Partnership in the Brynbryddan and Penllyn wards of Cwmavon.
Communities First Programmes bring together local people,
businesses, voluntary and statutory agencies to develop ideas to
benefit the whole community. The partnership has already developed
a new play park in Brynbryddan, involved the whole community in an
anti-litter programme and organised trips to outdoor activities for
A Communities First Partnership has been formed for the Upper
Afan Valley and includes the villages of Abergwynfi, Blaengwynfi,
Cymmer, Croeserw and Glyncorrwg. They are currently developing
schemes for the area.
The valley is well served by a public bus service from
Abergwynfi and Blaengwynfi, Glyncorrwg and Cymmer to Port Talbot,
Bridgend, Maesteg, Treorchy and Neath. There are onward train links
from Port Talbot to Swansea and Cardiff. The M4 motorway, which
runs across the bottom of the valley, also provides excellent links
with major centres.
There are junior schools in Blaengwynfi, Cymmer, Glyncorrwg,
Cynonville, Bryn and Cwmavon. There is a comprehensive school in
Cymmer. There is a sixth form college in Port Talbot
There are a number of medical facilities in the valley including
surgeries in Blaengwynfi, Cymmer, Croeserw, Glyncorrwg, Bryn and
Cwmavon. There are chemists in Cymmer and Cwmavon.
Cymmer has a modern swimming pool and in addition there are
Rugby and soccer pitches, tennis courts and bowling greens along
There are shops and post offices in every village. The area is
served by a travelling butcher and a van selling fresh
Last Updated: 11.03.2011 at 12:42