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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


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  • Showing 1-50 of 271
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    Wonderful! 4.8/5
    (12 reviews)
    avg/night
    • 2 BR
    • 1 BA
    • Separate Toilet
    • Sleeps 5
    Cottage #8133409
    12
    Viewed 10 times in the last 48 hours
      Excellent! 4.5/5
      (19 reviews)
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      • 2 BR
      • 1 BA
      • Sleeps 6
      Cabin #1704939
      19
      Viewed 6 times in the last 48 hours
        Exceptional! 5.0/5
        (12 reviews)
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        • 3 BR
        • 2 BA
        • Separate Toilet
        • Sleeps 7
        Cottage #1964165
        12
        Viewed 21 times in the last 48 hours
          Excellent! 4.7/5
          (46 reviews)
          avg/night
          • 1 BR
          • 1 BA
          • Sleeps 4
          Apartment #1401348
          46
            • 5 BR
            • 5 BA
            • Sleeps 10
            House #1932247
            1
            Viewed 12 times in the last 48 hours
              Wonderful! 4.8/5
              (33 reviews)
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              • 2 BR
              • 1 BA
              • Sleeps 4
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              33
                • 4 BR
                • 2 BA
                • Separate Toilet
                • Sleeps 8
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                  • 1 BR
                  • 1 BA
                  • Sleeps 2
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                    • 2 BR
                    • 1 BA
                    • Sleeps 5
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                      • 3 BA
                      • Sleeps 12
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                        Wonderful! 4.9/5
                        (58 reviews)
                        avg/night
                        • 2 BR
                        • 2 BA
                        • Sleeps 4
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                        58
                        Viewed 9 times in the last 48 hours
                          • 3 BR
                          • 2 BA
                          • Sleeps 8
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                            • 1 BR
                            • 1 BA
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                              • 1 BR
                              • 1 BA
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                              17
                                Wonderful! 4.9/5
                                (18 reviews)
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                                • 2 BR
                                • 1 BA
                                • Separate Toilet
                                • Sleeps 4
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                                18
                                Viewed 6 times in the last 48 hours
                                  Excellent! 4.7/5
                                  (23 reviews)
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                                  • 1 BR
                                  • 1 BA
                                  • Sleeps 6
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                                  23
                                  Viewed 28 times in the last 48 hours
                                    • 3 BR
                                    • 1 BA
                                    • Sleeps 6
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                                      • 4 BR
                                      • 3 BA
                                      • Sleeps 8
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                                        • 2 BR
                                        • 2 BA
                                        • Sleeps 4
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                                          Excellent! 4.6/5
                                          (5 reviews)
                                          avg/night
                                          • 2 BR
                                          • 2 BA
                                          • Sleeps 4
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                                          5
                                            • 1 BR
                                            • 1 BA
                                            • Sleeps 2
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                                              • 3 BR
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                                              • Sleeps 4
                                              Apartment #1948200
                                              4
                                              Viewed 28 times in the last 48 hours
                                                Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                (10 reviews)
                                                avg/night
                                                • 2 BR
                                                • 1 BA
                                                • Sleeps 4
                                                Cottage #6712648
                                                10
                                                Viewed 16 times in the last 48 hours
                                                  • 3 BR
                                                  • 3 BA
                                                  • Sleeps 6
                                                  Cottage #1966028
                                                    Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                    (12 reviews)
                                                    avg/night
                                                    • 4 BR
                                                    • 4 BA
                                                    • Separate Toilet
                                                    • Sleeps 8
                                                    House #8111831
                                                    12
                                                    Viewed 25 times in the last 48 hours
                                                      • 2 BR
                                                      • 1 BA
                                                      • Sleeps 4
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                                                      3
                                                        • 4 BR
                                                        • 2 BA
                                                        • Separate Toilet
                                                        • Sleeps 8
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                                                          • 3 BR
                                                          • 1 BA
                                                          • Sleeps 7
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                                                          3
                                                          Viewed 12 times in the last 48 hours
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                                                            • 2 BR
                                                            • 2 BA
                                                            • Sleeps 4
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                                                              • 2 BR
                                                              • 1 BA
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                                                                      3
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                                                                        • 2 BR
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                                                                              • 2 BR
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                                                                                  • 1 BR
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                                                                                            • 4 BR
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                                                                                              Excellent! 4.7/5
                                                                                              (23 reviews)
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                                                                                              23
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                                                                                                  Apartment #6723137
                                                                                                  1
                                                                                                  Viewed 6 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                                    • 2 BR
                                                                                                    • 1 BA
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                                                                                                    • 1 - 50 of 271
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Recent Reviews

                                                                                                    Used as a base for Cardiff

                                                                                                    4 of 5
                                                                                                    7 adults stayed here to use the house as a base for Cardiff. The house was easy to find and we parked 4 cars on the drive for the weekend. We were met by Christine, who showed us around the house and explained how everything worked before leaving us. The house was easily big enough for us all to move around, get ready, cook breakfast etc. without tripping over each other and the front room is an excellent size for large families / groups. A taxi into Cardiff is about £20 and this arrangement is better that 4 separate hotel rooms. It's a lovely house in a lovey area with a great pub - The Cefn Mably Arms - lovely owners who we may have visited on one or two occasions while staying..... Great weekend, thoroughly enjoyed and will defiantly be looking to book again for next year.
                                                                                                    • Review Submitted: 03-Dec-2016
                                                                                                    • Date of Stay: Nov 2016

                                                                                                    Perfect for exploring Cardiff, a gem of a place to stay. Would definitely highly recommend

                                                                                                    5 of 5
                                                                                                    A wonderful welcome from Mary & her husband. A comfortable, warm, well equipped apartment. Perfect for a long weekend for a group of "girls". Easy 20 minute walk through a lovely park to town & quick, cheap taxi ride back if needed (when lots of shopping done!). Good places to eat close by as well as in town, check out Trip Advisor for the places over the road. Cardiff a lovely place to visit, don't be put off if there is rugby on as the atmosphere was great, although we watched the game from the comfort of the apartment & the friendly pub opposite! Recommend to look for tucked away parking in the streets behind the property as not all permit spaces. A safe, friendly feel to the location. Few shops opposite for essentials, not far from a big Tescos on the drive in; good bike shop opposite too!! If you are considering this property...do it, it's great. Enjoy
                                                                                                    • Review Submitted: 03-Dec-2016
                                                                                                    • Date of Stay: Nov 2016

                                                                                                    We had a nice stay in a well equiped, clean appartment

                                                                                                    4 of 5
                                                                                                    We had a nice stay in a well equiped, clean appartment. Close to supermarkets and busstop.
                                                                                                    • Review Submitted: 28-Nov-2016
                                                                                                    • Date of Stay: Nov 2016