HomeAway uses cookies to improve your site experience. Learn more. By continuing, you consent to our use of cookies.
HomeAway uses cookies to improve your site experience. Learn more. By continuing, you consent to our use of cookies.
Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled

A guide to the history and natural beauty of the Afan Valley

The beautiful forest-covered Afan Valley is in South Wales in the county of Neath Port Talbot. The city of Swansea and the beautiful Gower Peninsula are nearby to the west.

The Main town is Port Talbot which lies on the bottom end of the valley and next to the seaside resort of Aberavon.

One feature which makes the Afan Valley unique in the local area is that it is a river valley, which means it is a V-shaped valley as opposed to the rest of the South Wales valleys which are glacial valleys and therefore U-shaped. This is the reason that the Afan Valley is known locally as “little Switzerland”.

Another feature of the valley is that it consists of a hard limestone base which drains away the rain without creating massive pools of mud and makes the area ideal for mountain biking. The mountain biking trails in the Afan valley were recently voted amongst the best ten in the world.

There are some remains from Roman times when the Romans dominated the area and built roads across the tops of the valleys to patrol the area. The Romans built a fort in Nearby Neath. Neath also has an ancient stone Castle, built in the 13th century and a Cistercian Monastery at Neath Abbey (now ruins) founded in 1147 by Sir Richard de Granville.

During the Industrial revolution the Afan Valley and surrounding areas became a major metals and coal mining centre and many canals and viaducts were built. A railway viaduct and an aqueduct in Pontrhydyfen still exist. The aqueduct remains in use today as a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. A plaque commemorates the birthplace of the great Welsh actor Richard Burton, who grew up in a house adjacent to the viaduct.

In recent years Neath Port Talbot council has been spending millions of pounds developing this area for tourists. They have created more than 30 miles of the best mountain biking trails in the country and some say, Europe. Alongside the trails are included footpaths for ramblers, ideal for nature lovers of any kind to explore the forestry and natural features of the countryside. The valley is rich with wildlife and birds of all sorts, which is why it is considered to be an area of great natural beauty. The work of the council is ongoing and new trails and services are being added every year.

Tourist attractions now include Afan Forest Visitor Centre which has some shops, a mining museum and car park. Many of the trails start from here. At the top of the valley in Glyncorrwg the focal point is the Dropoff Cafe which is a centre dedicated to serving the many mountain bikers who come to cycle on the trails.

Written by Gary Jones - Owner of Property 403493 in the Afan Valley, Wales


Popular Destinations

Wales Cottage Destinations

Scotland Favourites

English Gems

Viewed 44 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(22 reviews)
avg/night
22
Viewed 49 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(46 reviews)
avg/night
46
Viewed 39 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(18 reviews)
avg/night
18
Viewed 64 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.4/5
(32 reviews)
avg/night
32
Viewed 15 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.7/5
(6 reviews)
avg/night
6
Viewed 69 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(32 reviews)
avg/night
32
Viewed 35 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.7/5
(18 reviews)
avg/night
18
Viewed 24 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(24 reviews)
avg/night
24
Viewed 21 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(71 reviews)
avg/night
71
Viewed 31 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
3
Viewed 31 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.6/5
(30 reviews)
avg/night
30
Viewed 10 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(1 reviews)
avg/night
1
Viewed 18 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
2
Viewed 40 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(18 reviews)
avg/night
18
Viewed 37 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
Viewed 6 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(10 reviews)
avg/night
10
Viewed 20 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.5/5
(15 reviews)
avg/night
15
Viewed 14 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 5 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
0
Viewed 22 times in the last 48 hours
Very Good! 4.2/5
(6 reviews)
avg/night
6
Viewed 15 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(7 reviews)
avg/night
7
Viewed 16 times in the last 48 hours
Excellent! 4.6/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 22 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(17 reviews)
avg/night
17
Viewed 30 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(6 reviews)
avg/night
6
Viewed 46 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
4
Viewed 13 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
0
Viewed 9 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.9/5
(21 reviews)
avg/night
21
Viewed 16 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
Viewed 17 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 18 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
4
Viewed 43 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
Viewed 14 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
4
Viewed 8 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
2
Viewed 9 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
0
Viewed 10 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
Viewed 11 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
3
Viewed 41 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(17 reviews)
avg/night
17
Viewed 12 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
2
Viewed 8 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
4
Viewed 12 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
2
avg/night
1
Viewed 14 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
Viewed 10 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
2
Viewed 16 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
0
avg/night
1
Excellent! 4.6/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 17 times in the last 48 hours
Exceptional! 5/5
(6 reviews)
avg/night
6
Viewed 27 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 6 times in the last 48 hours
Wonderful! 4.8/5
(5 reviews)
avg/night
5
Viewed 16 times in the last 48 hours
avg/night
1
 

Recent Reviews

The property is well equipped & beautiful throughout

5 of 5
My family & I took our first short stay at this beautiful cottage since my ABI last year. DI ane & her husband are very warm & caring & nothing would have been to big if help was needed. The property was well equipped & spotless throughout. I recommend staying here & plan on returning in the near future. Big thanks from Sam & family x
  • Review Submitted: Jul 23, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Jul 2017

Good location, comfortable cottage,

5 of 5
Cottage clean, comfortable and well equipped. Travel links by train and bus within 5 minutes walk of cottage. Recommend walking to Cardiff Bay via the barrage, an interesting walk.
  • Review Submitted: Jul 21, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Jul 2017