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.

History

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’.

Afan Forest Park - Visitor CentreEconomy 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 cycle paths.

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 manufacturing.

CwmavonNew Initiatives

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 young people.

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.

Transport

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.

BlaengwynfiFacilities

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 the valley.

There are shops and post offices in every village. The area is served by a travelling butcher and a van selling fresh vegetables.

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Last Updated: 11.03.2011 at 12:42

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