NPT Heritage & History

National Trust Aberdulais Falls

The industrial heritage of this area goes back to 1584, when copper was first manufactured. Iron smelting and corn milling followed, with a tin plate works being built around 1830. As well as powering industries for over 400 years, this magnificent waterfall inspired artist J M W Turner in 1795. Today, the site houses Europe’s largest electricity-generating water wheel.

Aberdulais Falls is owned and cared for by the National Trust and features the following:

  • unique fish pass
  • visitor interactive display
  • educational facilities
  • National Trust gift shop
  • facilities for disabled visitors
  • free guided tours during the summer months

Location: On the A4109, 2 miles north east of Neath at Aberdulais.

Bus: 158 (First Cymru) from Swansea/Neath.  Also accessible via a pleasant walk or cycle ride form Neath (join footpath at B&Q) along the Neath Canal to Aberdulais Basin and Falls (approx. 2 miles).

Accessibility: Accessible to less abled visitors. Special lift provided; access through the turbine house and new scissor lift provides views above the waterfall.

Neath Abbey

Founded in 1130 by the Norman Baron, Richard de Granville and described as the 'Fairest Abbey in all Wales' by Tudor Historian John Leland.

The Abbey enjoyed varying fortunes, even serving as an early copper works after the dissolution. Although situated near an industrial area, the Abbey's location, on the banks of the Tennant Canal, makes it a tranquil and memorable site for the visitor.

Location: Off the A465  follow the A4320 Skewen signs. Turn left opposite the Hope & Anchor public house.

Bus: 158 or 143 (First Cymru) from Swansea/Neath

Accessibility: Accessible to the disabled visitor.

  • Tel: CADW on 029 20 500 200

Neath & Tennant Canals

There are two sections of the canal for visitors to enjoy. Experience working lock gates, tree-lined routes and a quaint coffee shop as you navigate this romantic example of industrial revolution ingenuity, made famous by the novelist Alexander Cordell in his book ‘Song of the Earth’. The ‘Thomas Dadford’ leaves Neath from Morrisons/B&Q daily during the school summer holidays, and on Saturdays from April to September.

Those who wish to simply enjoy a tranquil walk can follow the Neath Canal towpath through Neath Town Centre to Aberdulais where the basin has a skew bridge and 12 arch aqueduct over the River Neath.

Location: Resolven and Aberdulais Canal Basins are both easily accessible from the A465. Aberdulais is 2 miles north of Neath. Resolven is 7 miles north of Neath.

Bus: X5 (First Cymru) from Swansea/Neath.

Accessibility: The restored section north of Resolven and the Aberdulais Basin are both accessible to the disabled visitor.

  • Tel: 01792 772776/ 01639 636 674

History and Heritage Groups

The Borough of Neath and Port Talbot has a number of voluntary History and Heritage organisations which work enthusiastically to preserve, research and make available the rich heritage of the area. Below is a list of groups, including contact numbers.

If you know of any other groups in the heritage field which are not listed below please let us know by ringing the Heritage Officer at Neath Reference Library.

Local History & Heritage Groups

Society Contact Website Meeting Information
Amman Valley Railway Society    
Bethania Chapel History Centre Mr David Teague, 45, Lloyds Terrace, Cymmer, Port Talbot, SA13 3HT    
Brunel Dock Society

Cllr Huw James, 65 Shelone Rd, Briton Ferry

Bryn Historical Society Dafydd Bowen (Sec)    
Briton Ferry Historical Society Bill Watkins    
Cwm Dulais Historical Society Mair Heap (Sec), 26 Heol y Felin, Caewern, Neath. SA10 7SD -  
Friends of Aberdulais Falls Bethan Healey:    
Friends of Cefn Coed Bryan King (Sec), 87 Main Road, Creunant, SA10 8TP    
Friends of Margam Park

The Court Yard Bicycle Centre,Margam Country Park, Port Talbot                                              

Glynneath Historical Society

Graham Morris, ‘Maes y Berllan’, Abernant Hir, Glynneath, SA11 5RW, (01639) 722 105

Heritage Scene Neath  
Historical Association Swansea

Peter Richards,

The Neath Antiquarian Society

Virginia Jones,

Neath Historical Model Railway Society   Bryan King, 87 Main Road, Creunant, SA10 8TP    
Neath Railway History Society

Glyn Williams, 01639 790629

Neath & Tennant Canal Preservation Society Peter Ricketts, (01792) 360 688    
Pontardawe Historical Society

Roland Murdoch, (01792) 864073

Pontneddvaughan Historical Society Stephen Morris, 01639 720 728    
Port Talbot Historical Society

Sally Jones (Secretary)

(01639) 886186

Resolven History Society

Trefor Jones, Bryn Glas, Glynneath Road, Resolven (01639) 710855

Skewen & District Industrial Heritage Association

Viv Griffiths, (01792) 813243,

Skewen Historical Society

Mrs Kitty Griffiths, (01792) 813 651,


Meet on the first monday of the month, at 7.00pm, in the Carnegie Hall, Evelyn Road, Skewen.

SouthWales Miners Museum

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, Port Talbot. email:

Swansea Valley History Society

Mr D. Keri Thomas (Vice-Chair), 25 Gelligron Road, Pontardawe, Swansea, SA8 4LU, or

Treftadaeth Brynaman Heritage Black Mountain Centre, Cwmgarw Rd, Brynaman, Ammanford, SA18 1BU

3rd  Wednesday of every month. 7pm
W.A.F.E.R.S D. M. Evans, (01639) 635 761  
Welsh Postal History Research Foundation Bill Toye, Y Grithig, Pen Y Cae, Upper Swansea Valley, SA9 1ED, 01639 730 730    
Ystalyfera Heritage Society John Skinner, 3 Swan Lane, Ystalyfera, SA9 2JB    

See also: